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Was Islam Spread By The Sword…REALLY?

Posted by Brother Mark:) on January 18, 2013

NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA

NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA

NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA

Translation: May veneration be presented to the exalted one who is a Buddha and has achieved enlightenment by himself righteously.

 

This is a piece of revisionist Islamic history and scripture material titled Was Islam spread by the sword? going around that I thought that I would respond to. Last I looked a rendition of this is posted at the website  http://www.islamicvoice.com/august.99/zakir.htm and the author given is Dr. Zakir Naik. I have seen something very similar at other websites as well as this being mirrored elsewhere. After something like this goes around for a while it can be hard to tell just where it may have originally come from. As it is the most complete version of this piece of work, it is the above mentioned version that will be reviewed.

At the bottom of the same page that this link will bring you to there is another very short piece titled “Prophet Muhammad’s Charter of Privileges to Christian’s”. What isn’t being told here is that in order for privileges to be “granted”, this was  territory that was conquered by Muhammad in the first place, and in order for them to keep themselves in good standing as members of the ” People Of The Book” (Christians qualify) they would have to pay the Jizya to be able to keep their Christian religion without having to convert to Islam, risk death or at best go somewhere else. It would certainly seem as if these particular Christians were keeping up on their Jizya payments rather well. The Jizya is discussed later in this article. 

All scripture quoted is from the Qur’an, Sahih (considered genuine)Hadith or from the New International Version of the Christian Bible.

  I believe that it is important that such things are addressed when one can or else the chances are greater that such unfortunate circumstances might very well be repeated. Denial of these issues or the notion that such issues should be “taboo” to talk of only create an environment that makes it safe for those who, in the name of whatever name for a God they worship will take the very next opportunity to kill as many of us as they can.

Members of the Hindu religious family have always been considered “polytheists” and although not the original type of polytheist that Muhammad took a difference with in Mecca, we have been traditionally been a favorite target of those who believe that with “Allah’s” blessing wish to rid the world of what can be considered from this perspective as the “truest” of infidel. It is for this reason that I consider such flagrant denial of this matter a direct and serious assault upon the sangha of the Hindu religious family and all others who may suffer the consequences of a failure to address these worthy issues to be discussed. This is why for the Buddhist community as well as others, it is so important that such issues be frankly and openly embraced for discussion.

I realize very well that there will be those who will attempt to avoid these issues by simply trying to paint me and or this article as “anti-Islam” or “anti-Muslim”. I assure all of you that nothing could be farther from the truth. I am not anti-Islam because I recognize all of the good that Islam can stand for in a modified form as lived by peaceful Muslims everyday, nor am I anti-Muslim because my experience has taught me that there are many Muslim who are very kind people who do not have any religious prejudice at all and as such either do not know much of their own scripture or take much of it too seriously. I have known members of the Muslim community who if I wanted to have hatred for Islam or Muslim people they would make that proposition very difficult for me. Having said that, there are basically three options here. One is that they will believe one type of fabricated excuse or another for their scripture that must rely on their own lack of serious investigation, or two, make up their own and believe it or another is that they declare the righteousness of it all and become very fundamentalist and militant. The third option is that they will identify themselves as Muslim while not taking their scripture seriously, considering much of it out-dated and no longer practically applicable. The last from my experience of talking with these Muslim, are usually afraid to openly say so because of many within their own community that will consider them heretics (which would qualify them for being considered an “Apostate”) for doing so. They understandably do not wish to put their own lives as well as the lives and well being of their family at risk.  There are many Muslim who are afraid of the violent potential of their own community.

 You want substantiation? Would you like an anonymous survey? Would they be able to trust the anonymity it? The last from my experience of talking with these Muslim, are usually afraid to openly say so because for all they know, it could be the F.B.I. or someone looking to see if they’re a true Muslim on the phone! If you don’t think that this last suggestion might be a reasonable fear, check out this link where there is an article that discusses the need for the hopeful reformer of Islam to be protected against the violence and threats of violence that are a constant reality.

 http://www.islamicpluralism.org/503/we-must-protect-muslim-reformers

 My own experience and your own basic ability to reason given the evidence of the fact that most Muslim aren’t a bunch of hateful and potentially murderous people in light of what their scripture will otherwise tell them will demonstrate to you that this is true. As a matter of fact, most Muslim that I know don’t even believe as well that if you leave Islam (become an “apostate”) that you should be executed even though I have met many socially mainstream Muslim who have been taught and who believe that such people should be put to death for such a religious crime.

 As I allude to in this article there are two primary things to take into consideration when giving a study to this topic, that being abrogation in which a later revelation cancels out and replaces an earlier one, an example of various scriptural support for this would be Qur’an 2:106: “Such of our revelation as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?”,  and Qur’an 16:101-104: “And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation, – and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth - they say: Lo! thou art but inventing. Most of them know not. (101) Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (102) And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech. (103) Lo! those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, Allah guideth them not and theirs will be a painful doom”. There are those who say that abrogation is something only between the Qur’an and other earlier scripture such as the Turat (Torah) and the Injil (New Testament). The problem with this is if we look at Qur’an 16:101-104 again, the Torah according to all of the “people of the book” including Islam was revealed to “Musa” (Moses) not the “Holy Spirit”. The “Holy Spirit” being referred to in the Qur’an is that of the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). Considering as well that Islam rejects any partner with Allah (God)… New testament (N.I.V.) Matthew 28:19:”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”… it would seem unlikely that the “Holy Spirit” of the New Testament was what was being referred to as well. The other important thing to consider is the fact that the Qur’an is not written in chronological order, that being the historical order in which these “revelations” are said to have occurred. There is a link given later in this article which is an Islamic website which will allow anyone to compare the difference between the traditional order and the chronological one.

If you compare the peaceful scripture with the scripture that is hostile and violent toward the unbeliever, with abrogation and the chronological order of the Qur’an in mind you will find that there isn’t a single peaceful scripture left standing. The links to do your comparison are given later in this article. Many may ask why is this? The answer as discussed later as well, is that Islam developed into something more and more intolerant as time passed. What was Muhammad the Muslim prophet to do? Should he have declared war against all unbelievers with fifty or a hundred followers standing behind him? Whatever someone may wish to call the Muslim prophet Muhammad I believe that we can all agree that he was not a blithering idiot.

 Of course the per my experience typical Muslim response to this is that Allah, being the creator and maintainer of the universe can change his mind at any time about anything regarding as little or as much of it as he should so choose.

Some may choose to take issue with the Qur’an scripture that I quote in this article, and I am well aware that whether taken in or out of context (depending on the scripture being discussed) there are certainly parts of the Qur’an that can be construed as promoting a peaceful stance. The point being given is that religious scripture as a whole is not always the most consistent, and the Qur’an is no exception. Why that is the case is something one may differ on as per their view of the context of the scripture involved itself. I do not carry the view that the one way peaceful street of Qur’an scripture is contextually the most objective perspective. There are those of course who will say something like: “Well that’s what happens when you mix politics with religion” This also a common theme to be found when some wish to explain away the policies of a Muslim country in question or the topic of related current events.They seem to forget that “politics” don’t just “happen”. “Politics” are a result of the perceived needs of the social community subject to such “politics” and if the community has as it’s core the observance of a particular religious belief then certainly that will be reflected in its political structure. How ironic for such an excuse as well, that the very first year of the Muslim Calendar doesn’t start with the birth of Muhammad the Muslim prophet considered by them to be the last prophet or anything else but the establishment of the Islamic state in Mecca. The political state. I would encourage any who disagree with this article for any reason, to read the whole article first. While I’m at it I’ll make a note here as well that the proper word used for what would be considered by many as “verse” when discussing Qur’an scripture is actually “Ayah” which is translated as “revelation”, as well you can have more than one verse per Ayah.  I usually use the word “verse” to keep it compatible with what the common term is among those unfamiliar with proper Qur’an scripture language, and I will also say that I do hope that it does not trouble any that I have chosen to give references both in the article itself as well as in the reference section.

 

Before we go any further, this is an interesting video you might want to watch. I would have to disagree though with the language of Mr. Sam Harris ( that it would appear he later corrects during discussion) that Zen Buddhism informed the Kamikaze during world war 2 although the Japanese government and certain Zen figures (not a single monastic) did use Buddhist sounding language to encourage the war effort. Accordingly you certainly can’t find such a justification in any Zen scripture.There is no evidence that the Japanese involvement in World war 2 was provoked or ‘informed’ by the teaching of Zen Buddhism or any type of Buddhism for that matter as this would be a false claim. You simply can’t say the same thing about the scriptural teaching of Islam and the encouragement of violence, in particular against the unbeliever. 


Now there are those who will tell you something like “They have legitimate concerns and feel that their identity is being threatened as people and so you see they are just using of course ” religious language” but it’s not really their religious belief to be questioned here”. The rather blatant fallacy to be observed with this type of view is that to believe this you must then also believe that they are not somehow aware of the fact that by using religious language they are giving religious justifications for their behavior or the direct implications of that fact! Why? Apparently because the academic apologists seem to think that they know better than them!

Was Islam spread by the sword?

  • Islam means peace

“Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Almighty God. Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).”

This is actually something of a disputed topic . If you go to the Merriam Websters on line dictionary,(1) it will tell you that the origin of the word Islam comes from the Arabic islām which means simply ‘submission’ (to the will of God). The Historical Dictionary of Islam will tell you the very much the same thing (pg 154). The root word ‘salaam’ can indicate the word “peace” as well as “submit” because the trilateral root s-l-m is used for such root words as  Salam (peace), Silm (submission), and other word’s as well. So yes, although the word Islam does come from the Arabic root word ‘salaam’ that is because there is a semantic correlation between the Arabic words for “peace” and “submission” as well as again, other words. Let me ask you all a serious question, would you suggest that the word love comes from or means the word leave, because they both have the letters L,V, and E in them? This is basically the type of thing that someone suggests when they tell you such a thing, although many don’t know it because they chose to believe this story before doing a little bit of homework on it.

Something else to consider here is that the word peace as it was often used was more of a greeting than what would be associated with the word in common usage today. An example: When Muhammad sent a letter to the Christian King of Alia he said “peace be upon you” at the start of the letter, but then went on to threaten him with death if he did not pay the Jizyah. —-William Muir- Life of Mahomet pg. 457 (footnote)

The idea here is to associate the proposed origin of the word with the true “meaning” or true practice of Islam. Understanding that this is a disputed topic, I believe that the best thing to do is to go to the Sahih Hadith of Bukhari where Muhammad the Muslim prophet is asked by the angel Gabriel “What is Islam?” and see just what Muhammad himself has to say as an answer to this question….

Sahih Hadith Bukhari

(1) Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, “What is faith?” Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.” Then he further asked, “What is Islam?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.”…                                                                                               (Book 2 Hadith #47)

Let’s all make a note here of how the word “peace” is not mentioned once here, and as far as charity is concerned, just in case anyone wants to confuse charity with the concept of peace……. “It is best that zakatu-l-fitr be given to the poor and the needy (al-miskin - someone whose level of poverty is more or less than the poor (al-faqir), but does not let others know of his need nor does he beg from others), these are the first two categories of the eight to whom zakat is normally given to; this due to his salallahu alayhi wa salam saying, ‘…and as food for the needy’. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that zakatu-l-fitr is not to be given to non-Muslims.”(2)

If I am not someone who is perceived to have struggled or fought against Islam then I may be given charity and treated kindly, but not to be given the obligatory religious charity of zakat. The scriptural support for this would be: Qur’an: 60:8 “Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity” Notice that there are two different extremes being spoken of here regarding having fought on account of religion… one is a struggle which can be construed as pertaining to any degree of opposition, and the other is a matter spoken of actually driving someone out of their home. The term ‘equity’ in context here would pertain to value or “worthiness”. Therefore interestingly enough, by the fact that I have written this article or have spoken in ways about Islam that other Muslim’s might choose to differ with, this is therefore a good enough reason for myself to be disallowed from being treated kindly or given any charity what so ever. If one is a kaafir (unbeliever) the one condition that they may be given Zakat is if it is thought that they might be inclined towards Islam and the giving of the charity might help them convert to Islam. This is supported by the following : Qur’an 9:60 “As-Sadaqaat ( Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al‑Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise” After all, if Zakat were to be given to any non-believer who was in need, why make a special circumstance of the non-believer whose heart may be inclined towards Islam? For further information on what Muslim scholars have to say about whether or not Zakat should be be given to a non-Muslim please take a look at this… http://islamqa.com/en/ref/39655

However….. There are some though who believe that the proper interpretation of sharia law is that non Muslim’s can benefit from Zakat (Zakaah) but only after the needs of Muslims have been met first. (3) Having said that, lets remember the first thing mentioned as to what Islam means by Muhammad the Muslim prophet here is “To worship Allah Alone and none else,”…. this is a theme that we will revisit during this article, as it becomes synonymous with the view that none has the right to be worshiped other than Allah and what this has meant for the non-Muslim as an infidel who does not have the right therefore to worship or pay such tribute to any other religious belief as well.

To sum this up, I can’t think of a more authoritative word on what Islam means other than from what is accepted by the Muslim as the spoken words of the Muslim prophet Muhammad himself.

  • Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace

“Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police force, which uses force against criminals and anti-social elements to maintain peace in society. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to struggle and fight against oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam force may only be used to promote peace and justice.”

“In Islam force may only be used to promote peace and justice.”

Unless you have a far different view of what is construed as “justice” other than something that would denote an objective sense of fair treatment, both the Qur’an and the Sahih hadith as well as history itself contradict this:

Qur’an 9:1-6

1.Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.

2.Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance).

3.And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.

4.Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).

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.

6.And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.

The assertion here by some that this verse 9:1-6 is defense during a time of war is contradicted by the first words of 9:4 “Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term”…..Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, …..

These are clearly people who do not consider themselves as having any dispute with the Muslim but for them instead of the treaty being null and void, the Muslim is to wait until the expiration of the treaty (… “when the sacred months have passed, ..”) and then “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.” Therefore it is pretty clear here that after the treaty period has expired Muslims are to make no more treaties with these pagans and they are to subdue or kill those who do not accept Islam. There is nothing “self-defensive” about this at all.

It is also interesting to note here that even though the four sacred months of the Islamic calendar are the 11,12,1, and 7th months, the Ayah of the sword implies four consecutive months. I’ll let the Islamic scholars work this one out though, as it is really not very relevant to the topic under discussion.

“Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance)”.

Why declare freedom from obligation from a treaty and then give four months to travel freely when the travel freely part was the basis for the sacred months treaty to begin with?

A sacred months treaty was a common practice during the sacred months of pagan pilgrimage so that waring tribes could worship and conduct business during this important period. This practice was then carried over into Islam.

In Bulugh al-’Arab fi Ahwal al-’Arab, we read, ‘The four sacred months, Rajab, Dhu al-Qa’da, Dhu al-Hijja and Muharram, had been considered sacred during the pre-Islamic period [Jahiliya]. Raids, taking revenge, war, fighting and disputes were forbidden during them. If a man were to meet his enemy who killed his father or brother during these months, he would not quarrel with him… During the sacred months, [the people] were under restriction not to fight or make raids, and had to remove [their] spearheads as a sign that they would avoid fighting at all costs.’ Obviously, Islam borrowed the hallowing of these months from Pre-Islamic Arabs and introduced nothing new into the world. (‘Abdallah ‘Abd al-Fadi, Is the Qur’an Infallible? ——-Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 VILLACH, AUSTRIA p. 127)

If anyone would like to do a little more study on the matter of the pagan influence on Islam I would suggest reading “The Hajj” by F.E. Peters.

They were being given four months with an ultimatum of what the penalty would be for not converting to Islam. This is why toward the end of the commentary given in the Tafsir of Ibn kathir online we read… Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas commented: “No idolator had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara’ah (9th surra) was revealed. The four months, in addition to,all peace treaties conducted before Bara’ah was revealed and announced had ended by the tenth of the month of Rabi` Al-Akhir.”

“Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him)”.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”.

Let us make a note here of how there is not a single word here that would suggest that those who have kept their word and have no conflict with the Muslims nor anyone else for that matter get to just live their lives peacefully, without converting to Islam.

If any one should disagree with this all you have to do is read The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir online. The link given for this site is a pro Islamic web site which states:   “The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir is of the most respected and accepted explanations for the Qur’an and is the most widely used explanations in Arabic used today.” —The home page of the Tafsir of Ibn kathir website

Here’s the link which will be given again later on: http://www.qtafsir.com/

(Qur’an in a flash section, Surra 9)

This is the Ayah of the Sword
Mujahid, `Amr bin Shu`ayb, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Qatadah, As-Suddi and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that the four months mentioned in this Ayah are the four-month grace period mentioned in the earlier Ayah,﴿فَسِيحُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ﴾(So travel freely for four months throughout the land.) Allah said next,﴿فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ﴾(So when the Sacred Months have passed…), meaning, `Upon the end of the four months during which We prohibited you from fighting the idolators, and which is the grace period We gave them, then fight and kill the idolators wherever you may find them.’ Allah’s statement next,﴿فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ﴾(then fight the Mushrikin wherever you find them), means, on the earth in general, except for the Sacred Area,for Allah said,﴿وَلاَ تُقَـتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّى يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ فَإِن قَـتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ﴾(And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, unless they fight you there. But if they attack you, then fight them. )﴿2:191﴾ Allah said here,﴿وَخُذُوهُمْ﴾(and capture them), executing some and keeping some as prisoners,﴿وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُواْ لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ﴾(and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush), do not wait until you find them. Rather, seek and besiege them in their areas and forts, gather intelligence about them in the various roads and fairways so that what is made wide looks ever smaller to them. This way, they will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam,﴿فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَءاتَوُاْ الزَّكَوةَ فَخَلُّواْ سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾(But if they repent and perform the Salah, and give the Zakah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Abu Bakr As-Siddiq used this and other honorable Ayat as proof for fighting those who refrained from paying the Zakah. These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations. Allah mentioned the most important aspects of Islam here, including what is less important. Surely, the highest elements of Islam after the Two Testimonials, are the prayer, which is the right of Allah, the Exalted and Ever High, then the Zakah, which benefits the poor and needy. These are the most honorable acts that creatures perform, and this is why Allah often mentions the prayer and Zakah together. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاة»(I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.) This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, “It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, every treaty, and every term.” Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas commented: “No idolator had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara’ah was revealed. The four months, in addition to,all peace treaties conducted before Bara’ah was revealed and announced had ended by the tenth of the month of Rabi` Al-Akhir.”﴿وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴾(6. And if anyone of the Mushrikin seeks your protection then grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur’an) and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.)

6…. Safety can only be given if one want’s to hear the “word of Allah”…..no compulsion or coercion here…right?

Qur’an 9:7  “How can there be for the polytheists a treaty in the sight of Allah and with His Messenger, except for those with whom you made a treaty at al-Masjid al-Haram? So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him]“.

(As for these)…..

Those who have been honorable to the four month’s treaty will be given until the expiration of the treaty before they are to be slain wherever they are found as people considered idolaters. Of course, anyone who broke such a treaty would also acknowledge that the treaty at that point was null and void anyway.

“But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

Again, If they repent and establish worship, ( become Muslim) their lives will be spared. I am aware that there have been those who have given the opinion that… “this ayah applies only to those (or the Mushrikin)   that broke their covenants.” The only problem with this is that it directly contradicts what 9:1-6 itself says. This is why when we read the first verse in this ayah, as well as the third verse it is Muhammad who is declaring that the previous treaties  are now being dissolved, and no one else. Only the most self willed type of  blind would believe that this was about anyone else but the Muslim prophet Muhammad who was breaking a peace treaty.

Where does this story come from?

“How can the idolaters have a pact with God and His Messenger — they cannot —while they disbelieve in God and His Messenger, acting treacherously; except for those with whom you made a pact at the Sacred Mosque?, the day of al-Hudaybiyya — these were Quraysh, for whom an exception was made earlier [Q. 9:4]. So long as they are true to you, keeping to the pact and not breaking it, be true to them, by fulfilling it (fa-mā, ‘so long as’: the mā is a conditional particle). Truly God loves the God-fearing: the Prophet (s) had kept to the pact made with them until they broke it by supporting the Banū Bakr against Khuzā‘a”.  

                                                                        ——Tafsir al-Jalalayn commenting on Qur’an 9:7

This is an example of a tafsir that claims at 9:7 that it was the idolaters who broke a treaty (most tafsir do not), and then others will seek to tie this in with the ayah of the sword which is 9:1-6, however for this to be true it would directly contradict 9:1 and 9:3. Either Muhammad was “dissolving” the treaty with the blessing of “Allah”, or the idolaters had done so by violating the terms of the treaty, you can’t have it both ways! Again… what does the scripture itself say? If as a matter of analysis there can still be any objective dispute regarding scripture, I would suggest that the majority of the most extant evidence should be most seriously relied upon. Arabic translation problem? …Then the translation from Arabic would have to wipe out at least an entire verse here that does not exist, and directly contradict what has been written!

The fact that some have found a need to make up sweet stories about this ayah that to be sure others are self-willed gullible to believe is an indication of just how embarrassing this ayah has become. For those who choose to disagree, let me know when you believe that an interpretation of a minority interpretation is as worthy as the Qur’an scripture itself for this type of discussion, now won’t you?!

 

So I’ve heard… “ Verse 6 ordered the Muslims to provide safe passage and protection to any opposing soldier that sought asylum during combat ”. This is not true in that it leaves out an important requirement….. This would only apply to those who are seeking and willing to hear the “word of Allah”, according to 9:6. To persuade (to put it politely) someone to convert to Islam was an important part of the purpose, not just simply to kill people who didn’t believe in Islam.  All of this is why you will notice that when such things are written about an ayah such as  9:1-6 the commentator is usually very careful not to give this in its entirety if at all, but to give some small snippet or two at best. Otherwise when they write such things they would look pretty foolish and they know it, and that wouldn’t be the best way to convince themselves and or others of something that simply is not true. The fact that someone may have written a tafsir or two that completely ignores what this ayah has to say does not really support the fallacy of such a wishful thinking perspective. This is why any tafsir that I discuss for support on such matters will not contradict what we know the scripture to be. The idea is to complement the scripture during our analysis not to contradict. Let’s put on our critical thinking caps…now shall we?

Critical Thinking - http://www.youtube.com/user/CriticalThinkingOrg

Sahih Hadith Bukhari

 Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said:”I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.”

                                                                                                        (Book 2 Hadith #24)

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”

                                                                                                        (Book 84 Hadith #57)

This is just one example from the Qur’an and two from the Hadith, if I wanted to I could be here for days discussing such examples like this.The history of Islam as we shall discuss unfortunately quite clearly reflects this teaching. I will make a brief note here of how I always find it interesting just how many will at their whim according to what they like or not, will decide which hadith to question as genuine and which not regardless of what is considered Sahih or why.

It continues……..

  • “The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book ‘Islam at the cross road’  (page eight)       ‘History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth’s that historians have ever repeated.’ “

Really? And just where would they get such a “fantastically absurd myth” ? There are many who are taught to recite the line that if there was a war in Allah’s name that it just must have been “self defense”! And don’t dare question that! We’ll call you a bad name if you do!fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races…” Notice here just what De Lacy O Leary was actually talking about, no where does he say here that Islam was not spread by the sword, or that it only happened on some rare occasion.

  • Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years.

“Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers”.

Actually… what is being discussed here would be gradually during and after the ‘Reconquista” which started in 722 A.D. and ended finally in 1492. “The Umayyad conquest of  Hispania was the Islamic Ummayad Caliphate‘s conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom ofHispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula. The conquest began with an invasion by an army that (according to traditional accounts) consisted largely of BerberNorthwest Africans and was commanded by Tariq ibn Ziyad. They disembarked in early 711 at Gibraltar and campaigned their way northward. After a decisive battle, the Visigothic kingdom collapsed and over the following decade most of the Iberian Peninsula was brought under Muslim occupation, save for mountainous areas in the north-west (Galicia, Asturias) and northern mountainous areas of little interest for the newcomers. The conquered territory, under the Arabic nameal-Andalus, became part of the expanding Umayyad empire. The invaders subsequently moved north-east across the Pyrenees only to engage in battle with Odo the Great´s Aquitanians in Toulouse, where the Muslim advance ground temporarily to a halt. However, they resumed their advance north by the west, defeating independent duke Odo in Bordeaux.Charles Martel was at the time the Frankish mayor of the palace and Odo saw no choice but to seek his help, pledge allegiance to him and join the Frankish military forces, who defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours (Poitiers) in 732. Muslim control of territory in what became France was intermittent and ended in 759. Though Muslim armies dominated the Iberian Peninsula for centuries afterward, Pelayo of Asturias‘s victory at the Battle of Covadonga in 722 preserved at least one Christian principality in the north. This battle later assumed major symbolic importance for Spanish Christians as the beginning of the Reconquista.

Because of the Muslim perception of Christians and Jews as People of the Book, numerous Jewish and Christian communities survived through the centuries of Muslim rule in al-Andalus,”(4) apparently not because there were no forced instances of coercion, especially when you know that the Muslim are now first class citizens.

also…

“Several historical sources state that the Islamic caliphate had not actually targeted Spain for conquest, but that political divisions within the Visigothic kingdom created an opportunity that Tariq and his army exploited successfully. For example, King Roderick was not considered a legitimate ruler by all the inhabitants of the Kingdom, and some Visigothic nobles actually aided the Islamic conquest.”(4)

Would it matter if true? A rose by any other name as they say is still a rose. Spain was conquered by the Muslim sword of the Islamic conquest. Oh but wait a minute… that’s right, I almost forgot… that wasn’t really Islam … just the Islamic conquest!

  • 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians.

“Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.”

Whoever wrote this seems to not be aware of the Jizya tax as it regarded the “People of the Book”. The Christians as being recognized as “people of the book” were allowed to pay a tax “in willingness and submission”, and keep their own religion. This topic of the people of the book being allowed to keep their own religion if they pay a tax in willingness and submission shall become more relevant shortly. Regarding the Jizya let’s start with Qur’an 9:29 which we’ll look at again in just a bit. Qur’an 9:29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. Sahih Hadith Bukhari …..The people asked, “What does the Statement say?” He replied, “Allah and His Apostle’s asylum granted to Dhimmis, i.e. non-Muslims living in a Muslim territory) will be outraged, and so Allah will make the hearts of these Dhimmis (people of the book) so daring that they will refuse to pay the Jizya they will be supposed to pay.”                                                                                           (Book#53, Hadith #404)

 

The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin Al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns -Chapter 10

One important region which the Prophet wished to subdue was a little farther away from Tabuk. This was Daumat-ul-Jandal (the present-day Al Jauf), ruled by Ukaidar bin Abdul Malik, a Christian prince from the tribe of Kinda who was famous for his love of hunting. To subdue this region, the Prophet sent Khalid with 400 horsemen and instructions to capture Ukaidar. “You will probably find him hunting the wild bull”, said the Prophet.

Khalid arrived at the walled town of Daumat-ul-Jandal on a bright, moonlit night in late November, 630 (mid?Shaban, 9 Hijri). Hardly had he deployed his force near the town when the gates opened and out came Ukaidar with a few friends mounted on horses and armed with hunting weapons. Perhaps owing to the heat of the day Ukaidar had decided to hunt in the cool of the night, and the bright moonlight promised good hunting.
Khalid took a few of his men and rushed at the hunting party. While Khalid himself pounced on Ukaidar and brought him-down from his horse, his men assailed the other members of the party. Ukaidar’s brother, Hassaan, resisted capture and was killed; but the rest galloped back to the fort and, once inside, locked the gate.

Khalid now returned to Tabuk with his distinguished prisoner. Ukaidar entered into a pact with the Prophet, paid a heavy ransom for himself and agreed to the Jizya.

 In July 631 (Rabi-ul-Akhir, 10 Hijri), the Prophet sent a military expedition under the command of Khalid to the tribe of Bani Harithah bin Kab in Najran, which lies to the north of the Yemen. The instructions to Khalid were: “Call the tribe thrice to accept Islam. If they respond favourably, do them no harm. If they refuse, fight them.”   With Khalid went 400 mounted warriors.

Who was khalid?— Khalid bin Al-Waheed was a Muslim General in the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s army. 

The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin Al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns by Lieutenant-General A.I. Akram —

This book can be downloaded for free at: http://www.grandestrategy.com/2007/12/sword-of-allah-khalid-bin-al-waleed.html In case your wondering, this is an Islamic website that wishes to use this book in the following way: “In such times this book reminds us of how glorious we once were, and perhaps how someday we can be again”.

This is why at the end of the last section regarding Spain we read… “Because of the Muslim perception of Christians and Jews as “people of the book”, numerous Jewish and Christian communities survived through the centuries of Muslim rule in al-Andalus”.  It was because they were able to pay the Jizya.

While we’re at it, just how are our Coptic friends doing in Egypt? After all, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance isn’t it? This link will bring you to a news story about how a Coptic church was recently burnt to the ground, after a mob was incited to do so by a Muslim Imam of a local mosque. Why would an Imam of a mosque who certainly knows his Qur’an and Hadith very well, do such a thing? Doesn’t he know that the scripture and history of Islam supposedly teach PEACE? Doesn’t he know that any scripture that portrays Islam as violent and fundamentally intolerant is just something presumably being taken out of context by those shameful “Islamophobes”? Is the Imam in question, someone who has perpetrated an “isolated” incident while “hijacking” the otherwise peaceful religion of Islam?

Read the article and you decide. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.aina.org/news/20110930204413.htm&date=2011-10-02

If you think that was just you know, an “isolated incident” take a look at this:

http://www.jpost.com/International/Report-charting-persecution-of-Christians-worldwide-reveals-most-abuse-in-Muslim-countries-338682

  • More than 80% non-Muslims in India.

“The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of the population of India are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword”.

Of course the story is very different back in reality land…..

The Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent led to widespread carnage because Muslims regarded the Hindus as infidels and therefore slaughtered and converted millions of Hindus. Will Durant argued in his 1935 book The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage (page 459):

The levies it had to pay were so crushing that one catastrophic harvest was enough to unleash famines and epidemics capable of killing a million people at a time. Appalling poverty was the constant counterpart of the conquerors’ opulence.

As Braudel put it:

The backward castes of Hinduism suffered worst. Monarchs (belonging to backward castes) such as Khusrau Bhangi Khan, Hemchandra and Garha-Katanga were knocked off their throne and executed. Backward caste saints like Namadeva(5) were arrested, while women like Kanhopatra were forced to commit suicide. (6) One example among many of Islam’s “peaceful” relationship with India……. The sacking of the Nalanda University in 1193 C.E. by the Islamic Turk Bukhtiyar Khilji, founder of the Khilji dynasty and whom is considered to be the first Muslim ruler of Bengal. Their amusement was to set the Buddhist monks on fire and to cut their heads off.(7)

Why that’s just dandy! Setting us on fire and cutting our heads off so that we will hop around like like chickens with our heads cut off while on fire! What amusement!

Too bad for us he didn’t know that Islam is a peaceful religion!

Now let’s see, was Mr. Khiji and his friends unaware of the few Qur’an verse’s that can be construed as peaceful and are simply some of the many therefore who have “hijacked” an otherwise peaceful religious standard? Or… did he know exactly what his Qur’an was telling him to do? We’ll look at that topic further in just a few moments…….

If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam”. “…..All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.”

Interesting. There are about 115.000 Jews living today in Germany and 1.6 million Jew’s living in Europe, which is considered 12% of the world’s total population of Jews.(8) Using this method of analysis would this author pretend that the Jewish holocaust never happened either? There have been many books written on the subjugation of the Buddhist’s and other members of the Hindu religious family at the hands of the conquering Muslims in India. The atrocities were appalling. For someone to write such insulting nonsense is at best the very height of self-delusional self-denial.

  • Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, ‘Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?’”

Finally! Some truth, and how very refreshing! “Islam was brought into Indonesia by traders from Gujarat, India during the eleventh century, although Muslims had visited the archipelago early in the Muslim era. By the end of the 16th century, Islam, through conversion, had surpassed Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of the Peoples of Java and Sumatra. At this time, only Bali retained a Hindu-practising majority, and the eastern islands remained largely animist but would adopt Islam and Christianity in the 17th and 18th centuries.” (9)

I will certainly not hesitate in the slightest to fully acknowledge in a grateful way that this is a fine example of the fact that Islam can be spread in a peaceful manner amongst those willing freely to participate. It is not my intention to suggest or imply in any way anything otherwise.

  • East Coast of Africa.

“Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?”

Our Islamic history revisionist friend wishes to talk of the East Coast of Africa? Well gosh! Just how did Islam reach the East coast of Africa? Oh that’s right…..that wouldn’t be a problem after all of North Africa was conquered by Muslim conquest, now would it? “The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid ArabMuslim expansion following the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of ByzantineSyria. Damascus was the seat of the Umayyadcaliphate. And by the end of 641 all of Egypt was in Arab hands. Then, with the destruction of the Persian army at the Battle of Nihawānd (Nehawand) in 642, the conquest of the Persian Empire was essentially finished”. “It was at this point that Arab military expeditions into North Africa were first launched by local initiative from Egypt, continuing for years and resulting in the spread of Islam.”(10)

When some talk of how all of this sort of thing was actually the political and military conquest of Islamic rulers and not really Islam itself per se, you may wish to remind them of this example of which there should be no “isolated example” of here given the fact that it stands to reason that a religion of the dominating social force will dominate along with those who are conquering, or that somehow the Islamic rulers in question were not aware of that fact, or the fact that as discussed spreading Islam through violent means is an actual scriptural teaching that has been observed and recognized by those in a position willing to follow this scriptural teaching. It simply amazes me that there are those who are willing and able to convince themselves to the contrary.

“Christianity wasn’t being spread by the sword, no… it was just the Christian rulers and their Christian armies spreading their Christian military and political influence!”

Seriously, just about any Muslim that I know would laugh at such a statement, and justifiably so!

  • Thomas Carlyle.

The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book ’Heroes and Hero worship’, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam”: “ The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at it’s starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try’s to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”

Mr. Thomas Carlyle is talking here as if he is some sort of famous delirious hospital patient in a famously delirious coma.

Never the less…. “One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try’s to propagate with that, will do little for him.” But then we have… “You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.” O.K. So we know that the sword alone won’t always do it, but let’s not get carried away, and be so gullible to believe that the sword didn’t play a very crucial part in the spread of Islam now shall we?

As well, just in case anyone might be interested,  let us make a note here that this is the same famous historian Thomas Carlyle that called the Qur’an in this very book mentioned an “insupportable stupidity.” 12

  • No compulsion in religion.

“With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error” (Al-Qur’an 2:256)

  • The sword of the intellect.

The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Qur’an says in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse 125: “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (Al-Qur’an 16:125)”

Yes, that last one’s a nice verse, and what if we are not convinced by someone’s “beautiful preaching”? Now let’s look at this issue a bit closer…… Some of this just needs a bit of research, as an example the Islamic scholar and well known historian and Islamic religious figure of Islamic jurisprudence Ibn Hazm (994-1064) gives his explanation of Qur’an 2:256, the “tolerance” verse, (“Let there be no compulsion in religion….”), where he demonstrates what he believes to be the true purpose of this well touted verse of the Qur’an…

“The prophet Muhammad did not accept from the Arab heathens less than Islam or the sword. This is compulsion of faith. No compulsion in faith (or religion) applies only to Christians or Jews because they are not to be forced to embrace the religion. They have the option either to embrace Islam, the sword, or to pay the poll-tax. In this case they can keep their own faith. It was truly said on the authority of the apostle of God that there is no compulsion in the faith.” -Ibn Hazm, Al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Nihal, Vol.8 commenting on 2:256

Showing that there is no clear consensus on 2:256 among Muslim scholars, on the other side of the coin we have the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir….

 Allah said,

﴿لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِى الدِّينِ﴾

(There is no compulsion in religion), meaning, “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whoever Allah directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty. Whoever Allah blinds his heart and seals his hearing and sight, then he will not benefit from being forced to embrace Islam.”

It was reported that the Ansar were the reason behind revealing this Ayah, although its indication is general in meaning. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said ﴿that before Islam﴾, “When (an Ansar) woman would not bear children who would live, she would vow that if she gives birth to a child who remains alive, she would raise him as a Jew. When Banu An-Nadir (the Jewish tribe) were evacuated ﴿from Al-Madinah﴾, some of the children of the Ansar were being raised among them, and the Ansar said, `We will not abandon our children.’ Allah revealed,

﴿لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِى الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ﴾

(There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path.)”

http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=138

Although he gives the perspective that this is general in meaning, we should note that the woman who was a Jew would have been as a member of the “people of the book”, able to pay the “Jizya” (protection money) and keep her religious faith.


Once again, the “poll tax” was also referred to as “Jizya” and was ONLY applicable to the people of the book other than the Muslim (Christian’s, Jew’s and the Sabian (11) according to the Qur’an 2:62, 5:69 and 22:17) Therefore the “unbeliever” who wasn’t a Christian, Jew or Sabian had but two choices….. embrace Islam…. or the sword.

 As previously mentioned, when we look this up in the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, we see that indeed it was a particular woman of a Jewish community that was concerned here, and that they are of course considered one of the “people of the book” who would qualify for the “Jizya” tax. This would make perfect sense considering Qur’an 9:29…..

Qur’an 9:29

29“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” There’s no compulsion going on here…right?

Qur’an 47:33-34

33 Verily, those who disbelieve, and hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh (i.e. Islam); then die while they are disbelievers, – Allah will not forgive them.34 So be not weak and ask not for peace (from the enemies of Islam), while you are having the upper hand. Allâh is with you, and He will never decrease the reward of your good deeds. (Emphasis mine) Now would you say that this sort of thing is defensive or proactive? Should we dare ask just what is being considered here…..”good deeds“? Having the unbeliever pay a tax which they may or may not be able to afford if they had this choice as a member of the people of the book status (Christian, Jew or Sabian) in lieu of themselves being killed or forced to leave the conquered area .. once again, there’s no compulsion or coercion for becoming a Muslim here….. right?

 I would like to address a particular excuse here used by some, that is that just because the Muslim rulers were busy conquering that this was a purely military and political type of situation and didn’t mean that Islam itself was actually being spread by the sword! While there at it some will also try to justify the “Jizya” by talking about Jesus and the New Testament. The jizya is a potentially very coercive and compulsive thing economically for someone to convert to Islam, whatever excuse one wishes to give for its implementation when it’s being forced upon a conquered populace. If there were others who implemented this type of tax prior to Islam and someones prophet seemed not to mind, would that make it something justifiable? What I’m speaking of here is the claim that the Muslim prophet Issa (Jesus) did not mind and accepted the right of the Roman’s to take “Jizya” from those under Roman rule.

We can find both being offered at: http://load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=481&section=wel_islam&subsection=Misconceptions

  

The New Testament (N.I.V.)

Matthew 22:16-21 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

 

Should the purpose of religion as an advancement not be to do something better than others did before you? Or should it be to use it as a precedent to justify your behavior? According to the Taurat (Torah) Moses killed a gentile for working on the sabbath in Num.15:32-36 this is in accordance with Ex.35:2, is this what should be justified today therefore as well? After all, a previous prophet thought it was all good! I’ve always found it interesting to see when someone wishes to use both historical context and historical precedent in practically the same sentence. If the same thing was done and some of us wish to justify then let’s use historical precedent, but if one should wish to excuse or be an apologetic of some sort, well then that’s o.k. we can then just use historical context! No double talk here… right? This demonstrates time and time again, that for many such people, it’s not the scripture but what one may choose to make of it per what they simply have been taught and have accepted to believe and what makes that so much easier is when we start telling fairy tales about our religious scripture and history. I will as well make a note of the fact that the comparison is an incorrect one. When we are discussing what would be called a “tax” we are not talking of the equivalent of “Jizya” because in the Roman empire this was more of a general tax that usually averaged between 1 and as high as 3 percent during a situation such as a time of war.(13)

 

When some people speak of this though I believe that what they are speaking of is referred to as the “Fiscus Judaicus”.

 

 The tax was initially imposed by Roman Emperor Vespasian as one of the measures against Jews as a result of the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73 CE. Vespasian imposed the tax in the aftermath of the Jewish revolt (JosephusBJ 7. 218; Dio Cassius 66.7.2). The tax was imposed on all Jews throughout the empire, not just on those who took part in the revolt against Rome. The tax was imposed after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE in place of the levy (or Tithe) payable by Jews towards the upkeep of the Temple. The amount levied was two denarii, equivalent to the one-half of a shekel that observant Jews had previously paid for the upkeep of the Temple of Jerusalem (Exodus 30:13). The tax was to go instead to the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, the major center of ancient Roman religion. The Fiscus Judaicus was a humiliation for the Jews. In Rome, a special procurator known as procurator ad capitularia Iudaeorum was responsible for the collection of the tax. Only those who had abandoned Judaism were exempt from paying it. – ( ”Fiscus Judaicus”, Encyclopedia Judaica)

This is a classic example of what is known as comparing apples and oranges and calling them both fruit, because both the Jizya and the “Fiscus Judaicus” were both a tax although that certainly does not make them comparable. This tax was being levied against the Jews in particular for a specific reason regarding the first Jewish war, not against someone who wasn’t of a certain other type of religious belief (“people of the book”) and who would therefore qualify to be able to keep their religion without being killed or forced to leave the conquered area.

As a last thought on this I will say that I always find it rather amusing when the Muslim needs to quote that great Christian classic… the one that many a Muslim has told me is a collection of corrupt scripture….the New Testament of the Christian Bible to try to support their position!

Once again let’s look at 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.” If we look at the verse at 9:5 of the Qur’an we can see that this was referring to what the behavior should be when dealing with the non-believers who again, had no argument and didn’t consider themselves at war with Muhammad or those who followed him after a treaty has expired. How could it be any better for those non-believers where there was no treaty in the first place? The Qur’an 9:5 in context was simply during a time of war and was self-defense some say? If the Muslim should read their own scripture as it has been discussed, they would know just how silly that sounds.

Other than the scripture of 9:1-5 itself contradicting that silliness for an excuse, what if it were true? How long then should the jihad last? We have the answer here:

 Qur’an 2 :192

(192) And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allâh) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (alone). -Dr. Mohsin translation Yes, I know that the other translations of the Qur’an give the two conditions as, one that the Muslim must fight them (unbelievers) until persecution is no more (however ‘persecution’ is to be arbitrarily defined here) and two, until ALL worship is for Allah alone. It is rather noteworthy to notice her that when we compare the two translations, disbelief is being compared to ‘persecution’. Oh and yes….. that’s very peaceful and self-defensive don’t you think? While we’re at this, will someone please tell me just how it is that “jihad” should be taken here as an internal struggle if it is contingent on what the rest of the world (ALL worship) is doing? Would anyone seriously suggest that our internal struggles will end once ALL the world has somehow converted to Islam?

There are those whom I have had such conversations with who are fond of telling me that I’m just taking scripture out of “context”. “Well, your just um taking that out of context”, but when I ask them just how that is and just what would be the proper context… they don’t ever seem to have much to say but to perhaps get angry and or repeat the assertion. Now why do you think that is? I’ll tell you why, it’s because that is something usually used as just another cheap excuse when they are shown something that they don’t want to believe, that being the historical context. Historical context would mean “that was then, and this is now” and therefore would indicate that there should be some Qur’an scripture that should be OUTDATED. This idea of OUTDATED Qur’an scripture is usually of course denied among Muslim. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either it’s the eternal word of God or it’s a simply a historical document, would someone try to tell us that it’s both? Then how would you decide what is to be taken into historical context and what not? Nothing at all but one’s own very personal and subjective opinion. Which is just as valid as a subjective opinion as the guy who’s going to dismantle himself in some marketplace today while yelling about how great his God is. So much for “context”. I have also heard the story that the earlier ayah revealed in Mecca was for all Muslim for all time but that the later revelations were only for the Muslim of that period. Unfortunately there is absolutely no scriptural substantiation for this story in the very least. Yes, it’s therefore just another story to help keep the faithful faithful and the gullible gullible. The only exception to this would be if there is an ayah or ‘revelation’ that has been abrogated by another as previously discussed.

So… the next time someone gives you that line, ask them just how is such and such here being taken out of context, and what would be the proper context, and why? This is what would be termed “critical thinking” type skill, and is very useful. Who knows? They just might give you a cohesive answer that you might be able to further explore and learn something from. A question that I have for all Muslim who talk of the “peaceful” and “tolerant” scripture of the Qur’an: Just why do you think it is that of any of the verses to be construed as peaceful in the Qur’an, if we go to anyone’s Qur’an Tafsir (exegesis or explanation) and I do mean anyone’s you will not find a single “peaceful” verse in the Qur’an that is being applied to the polytheist? The writer of the Tafsir may or may not choose to interpret that it is “indicative in general” a few hundred years or so after the fact, but if this is true why not then a single example of the circumstance regarding any such a “revelation” involving the truest of “unbeliever”…. the polytheist? As an example as discussed earlier, in Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir we read regarding the explanation of 2:256 the much touted “No Compulsion in religion” Ayah (revelation) or “verse” :

Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that before Islam, “When (an Ansar) woman would not bear children who would live, she would vow that if she gives birth to a child who remains alive, she would raise him as a Jew. When Banu An-Nadir (the Jewish tribe) were evacuated(from Al-Madinah), some of the children of the Ansar were being raised among them, and the Ansar said, ‘ We will not abandon our children.’ Allah revealed, “There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path.” In case you’re wondering, you won’t find any such an example of a “tolerance” verse that was being applied toward a polytheist situation in the Qur’an itself or any hadith either.

Were there not enough polytheist infidels to find such an example for a “tolerance” revelation? If anyone should believe that this issue has not already been properly addressed… I believe that this is a legitimate question that should be answered . Should we assume that any “tolerance” verse that is ambiguous regarding the specific circumstance involved (an example Qur’an 109:1-6) is “indicative in general” without a single such example of polytheist tolerance, given the scriptural evidence to the contrary that we have? We know that those who had no argument with Muhammad nor Islam were still according to Qur’an 9:1-5 to be hunted down and murdered, and the only specific exception to this ever given in Islamic scripture were the “people of the book”. Qur’an 48:29 “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other.” Here we see that this can’t be self-defensive and or during a time of war but a general proscription, other wise there would be no need for the comparison of the Muslim being compassionate amongst each other. Which would of course imply not much if any compassion for the “unbeliever”. During a war type of context, it would simply be a matter of “us” vs. “them”, would you have to remind the Muslim to be compassionate toward each other in comparison to the “unbeliever” within the context of a war going on? Here’s what the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir online has to say on the matter:

 (Qur’an in a flash section, Surra 9)

The Order for Jihad against the Disbelievers and Hypocrites
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Allah commanded His Messenger to strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and to be harsh against them. Allah also commanded him to be merciful with the believers who followed him, informing him that the destination of the disbelievers and hypocrites is the Fire in the Hereafter. Ibn Mas`ud commented on Allah’s statement,

﴿جَـهِدِ الْكُفَّـرَ وَالْمُنَـفِقِينَ﴾

(Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites) “With the hand, or at least have a stern face with them.” Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah commanded the Prophet to fight the disbelievers with the sword, to strive against the hypocrites with the tongue and annulled lenient treatment of them.” Ad-Dahhak commented, “Perform Jihad against the disbelievers with the sword and be harsh with the hypocrites with words, and this is the Jihad performed against them.” Similar was said by Muqatil and Ar-Rabi`. Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, “Striving against them includes establishing the (Islamic Penal) Law of equality against them.” In combining these statements, we could say that Allah causes punishment of the disbelievers and hypocrites with all of these methods in various conditions and situations, and Allah knows best.

During a time of war? (Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites) “With the hand, or at least have a stern face with them.” Whose war? This can’t be talking about a military engagement on the battlefield. Can you imagine giving someone a “stern face” during a time of war? If you lost your sword somehow in battle, not to worry about hand to hand combat… a “stern face” will do the trick!

As a last thought on this, I would like to mention again the topic of “abrogation” as a term pertaining to Islamic scripture. It basically means to replace or cancel out a previous “revelation”. Because the Qur’an is not assembled in chronological order, it can at times be difficult when referring to the Qur’an alone, to ascertain what ayah or “revelation” are abrogated by a later one. The one sure guidepost for this matter is the fact that as most Muslim scholars would agree, Islam and Muhammad’s religious journey started out much more peaceful than it developed during the later years although they may differ as to why. This narrative standard was set by all of the early biographies including the Sira Al Bukhari and Sira Al Muslim. There are some Muslim scholars who champion this development of violence… I give this link later, but it is appropriate now as well:

 http://islamqa.com/en/ref/43087

If you would be interested in comparing the chronological order of the sura’s with the traditional order as it is given in the Qur’an :

http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.qran.org/q-chrono.htm&date=2011-05-13

  • Increase in the world religions from 1934 to 1984.”An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, year book 1986, gave the statistics of the increase of percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, and Christianity had increased only by 47%. May one ask, which war took place in this century which converted millions of people to Islam?”

The Reader’s Digest Almanac is first being sourced here, although the first source for this article was “The Plain Truth Magazine”, a Christian periodical. The author’s name was Keith W. Stump and the name of the article was “A Crucial Half Century Of Religion”, and author Keith Stump’s sources of comparison were: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1935 and The Reader’s Digest Almanac and Yearbook 1983, this piece was then  used as a source for the Readers Digest Almanac 1986. This does not seem to have any necessary relevance on whatever the facts may or may not look like now close to 30 years later. Let’s also not forget that then as well as now, we are talking about a religious belief where, in most Muslim countries due to sharia law, the sentence for trying to leave Islam (Apostasy) is death, usually carried out by stoning the unfortunate one to death in the street or where perhaps a simple hanging from a tree will do. Even in Non-Muslim countries therefore, to be an “apostate” can be considered a very shameful and fearful thing for the individual and family involved as well possibility among some if not many who have immigrated to a European country. This combined with an increase in birth rates amongst Muslim’s in Muslim countries and elsewhere compared to a decline of birth-rate’s in America and Europe among the non-Muslim, just might have something to do with such statistics.(14)

  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe.

“Today the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The fastest growing religion in Europe in Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in su3ch large numbers?”

… and just what “large numbers” is he talking about? Should I dare mention that if this were even true, immigration and the variation of birth rates as discussed, can certainly play a role in much of this. “Once very small, the Muslim population of the US increased greatly in the 20th century, with much of the growth driven by rising immigration and conversion, and a comparatively high birth rate.(15) (16) In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.”(17) (18)

What of the claim over all?

It has been claimed that according to Guinness Book of World Records (2003), Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year, however, even if you believe any of this it can only be considered true if you don’t consider Atheism or Agnosticism or some other brand of non-Monotheistic perspective.The American Religious Identification Survey gave non-religious groups the largest gain in terms of absolute numbers – 14,300,000 (8.4% of the population) to 29,400,000 (14.1% of the population) for the period 1990 to 2001 in the USA.(19) (20) In Australia, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics give “no religion” the largest gains in absolute numbers over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006, from 2,948,888 (18.2% of the population that answered the question) to 3,706,555 (21.0% of the population that answered the question).(21) Reuters describes how at study profiling the “No religion” demographic found that the so-called “Nones”, at least in the U.S., are the fastest growing religious affiliation category. The Nones comprise 33% agnostics, 33% theists, and 10% atheists.(23) (2) According to INEGI (23), in Mexico, the number of atheists grows annually by 5.2%, while the number of Catholics grows by 1.7%.(24) (25) According to statistics Canada, the number of Nones more than doubled (an increase of about 60%) between 1985 and 2004.”(26) Ironically it would seem as if the fastest growing “religion” (being used here to simply mean way or perspective of thought) are those who usually claim not to have any!

As a last thought to this I would suggest that the fact that something is a popular idea certainly can’t make it anything more at all than that… a popular idea or trend. If people in general found it a popular thing to go and jump off a bridge, would you go and join them? No, in case some should suggest, I’m not suggesting that becoming a Muslim is necessarily the same as jumping of a bridge. The idea here is that because something might be popular for one reason or another simply doesn’t make it the best decision.

  • ” Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly saysPeople who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMED (pbuh) was born’”

Interestingly enough if a non-Muslim were to usually make a statement like this, as this man equates the birth of their prophet Muhammad with the dropping of a bomb he or she would probably be called an “Islamophobe” (among other very nasty things) for doing so! With that thought in mind, I will anticipate that there will be those who will wish to consider this simply an “Islamophobic” type of article. So just what is meant by the word Islamophobe? The word broken down literally would mean someone who is afraid of Islam, although that is not usually the way a word like this is employed. The way that the word is usually used would imply someone who has a negative perspective of Islam. Notice just how subjective this can be. The word is quite often used in a way to demonize those who may be perceived to have a negative perspective of Islam, as a sort of knee jerk buzz word. In this way there are those who would wish to avoid any reasonable and constructive conversation by seeking to socially ostracize any who dare wish to talk about such matters but in the most bowing and placating of ways. Those who have a negative perspective of Christianity or Buddhism as just two examples, don’t have to concern themselves with being labeled with a demonized or negative name themselves for doing so. I’m sure that we have all heard the various excuses for inhibiting an open dialog, such as to keep the peace because we wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings etc. However, when an honest and open dialog is discouraged, it actually helps to promote intolerance and therefore violence.

There is no such thing as the factual truth that should ever fear examination.

At the moment I am living in Malaysia (where the official religion is Islam) where you can go into any t shirt shop and find at least one or two t shirts with the Nazi Third Reich swastika. 

Not the original Hindu Swastika mind you, but the Nazi Third Reich Swastika.

I’ve heard that this type of apparel is made in Thailand and if true would only indicate that there are some Business interests, whether they consider themselves Buddhist or not, that would see the market for this Nazi wear in Malaysia as an opportunity. Of course, those working for the factory simply need a job and have no say so as to what is produced. The photo to the right, is of Nazi 3rd Reich jewelery being sold at the same mall.

IMG_20140216_171307

 

The real question therefore is why there would be a market for this type of Nazi wear and jewelery in Malaysia… an Islamic country? For an answer to that question take a look at this: 

 “Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behaviour and murders performed by them.”

This is from the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department of Malaysia in a statement that was sent out as an official sermon to be read in all mosques this past March of 2012. I don’t remember any outrage or for that matter, the slightest disapproval from any Muslim in Malaysia or anywhere for that matter, regarding this sort of blatant religious and cultural bigotry. That not withstanding, many Muslim will want to call someone an “Islamophobe” if something is said or written that offends their sensibilities as a Muslim!

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/06/robert-fulford-anti-semitism-without-jews-in-malaysia/

As well, I know many a Muslim who has a very unfavorable view toward the Jews, and the Jews could respond with very much the same response that I hear from a Muslim on these issues….”your taking such and such out of historical context” or “your just stereotyping” or how about “you just don’t know how to read ancient Hebrew”? etc. Should we just simply call these Muslim who really don’t like the Jews at all merely a bunch of “anti-Semites”? Would that really address the issues to be discussed? The point here is that there are some very real and serious issues here that can’t be addressed by simply calling someone a name. Many Muslim that I have known have always criticized such a tacit but today many find it convenient to play the same “knee jerk buzz word” game themselves! There is a difference between a term being used as a qualified descriptive adjective, and it being used as a way of shucking off and avoiding an objective and reasonable conversation that deals with issues that others would rather avoid and not recognize.

I have NO problem with a Muslim or for that matter a Christian or anyone else with what they may wish to believe or with the fact that they identify themselves as a this or that. They have every right to believe that a man who was a warrior and military leader is some sort of avatar or “prophet” of what they term as “God” or “Allah” as he chose to portray himself.

 In case anyone should wish to talk of Krishna the great warrior or something else of the sort, I will remind those that Buddhism is only a branch of the Hinduism family of religions in general. There is not a single word in all of our scripture of either the Theravada or Mahayana schools that would ever condone the purposeful injuring or killing of anyone for any reason. This is why when it comes to Buddhism, contrary to both Christianity and Islam, there has never been a war fought in the name of or for the sake of our religion that is, a war fought in the name of or for the sake of any Buddha or Buddhism using actual Buddhist scripture to support such encouragement. The most maniacal of crazed dictators have always known what a complete jackass they would sound like if they ever were to suggest such a thing! If anyone is looking for a true religion of peace, I would suggest that they may wish to keep that in mind.

O.K. let’s start with the Jewish tribal culture: The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. — Exodus Ch.15 Vs.3 Then the Christian: The Christian will usually tell you “That’s just that old-time Old Testament before Jesus came!” Really? Ask them about the Book of Acts Chapter 5. This is where their “holy”spirit murders both a husband and wife. They sold some land and because they wanted to keep some of the proceeds for themselves they told a lie as to how much it was sold for. So after Jesus, according to the New Testament saves a woman from being stoned to death for adultery (John 8:2-11) these two were then both murdered in front of the apostle Peter by the Christian “holy” spirit for telling a lie and not coughing it all up! Then we have Muhammad. In this regard as a “people of the book” kind of guy at least, I believe that we should give him credit for consistency.

This is why when a Muslim talks to me about how their religious tradition is so much different from the Christian or Jew I usually have to restrain myself from laughter!

I encourage all to read both the Qur’an and the Hadith, here are two good websites to start with! http://www.searchtruth.com/ and http://www.quranexplorer.com/ At these two sites you’ll be able to research both! While we’re at it, here’s the link for a good Qur’an Tafsir (exegesis or explanation) site, where you’ll have several tafsir to choose from: http://www.altafsir.com/ Don’t forget the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir: http://www.qtafsir.com/—– “The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir is of the most respected and accepted explanations for the Qur’an and is the most widely used explanations in Arabic used today.” — Homepage of the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir website 

MY issue? When you start talking about cutting MY head or the heads of my fellow Buddhist and Hindu brothers and sisters off and setting us or any other on FIRE for what we believe. Don’t give me any stupidity such as “Well you’re a Buddhist, so you shouldn’t care…” that would be like me walking up to a Muslim and pointing a gun to his/her head and say something like, but you believe that your going to be with your “Allah” so what do you care? THAT yes, I have a problem with. Believe it, understand it, and KNOW it. Who today, including any thinking Muslim can deny that Islam has developed what would be referred to in psychological terminology as a dissociative (split/multiple) personality disorder? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the development and history of Islam reflected by its own scripture has a conflict with the majority of today’s Muslim’s who simply want to live their lives in peace very much like the rest of us.

What better guideposts for a standard of behavior does a religion have for it’s adherents but its own scripture? Many seem to be afraid to acknowledge what this indicates because of a divine styled fetishism that they are taught to have with religious scripture including the Qur’an.

Some may say that Buddhism employs the same method….this is simply untrue. As a matter of fact the Buddhist teaching teaches directly the contrary.

For some substantiation of this, take a look at the Kalama Sutta:

  Kalama Sutta: The Instruction to the Kalamas

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.soma.html

This is a critical sutta where the Buddha teaches the value of free inquiry or expresse another way, where he teaches critical thinking ability when pondering what to think of a teaching as opposed to blind faith style belief. This is why people will tell you that Buddhism is a philosophy and not a religion…. they’re not used to a religion  that shows you how to think for yourself by teaching critical thinking skill , they’re much more familiar with a religion that does your thinking for you! 

Some people are good for telling me that I’m just taking scripture out of “historical context”, which basically means that “That was then and this is now”. If a Muslim admits that indeed there are scriptures that are perhaps out of date for today’s world then this can be seen as an affront to Islam, because the supposedly “timeless” and “divine” application of the Qur’an and for many the credibility of Islam itself is therefore brought into question. This can place them in danger of feeling that their lives and general well being are in jeopardy as an “apostate” for daring to seriously consider such a thing.  This is why many Islamic apologists and Muslims in general wish to have it both ways at their  convenience. if we should think it possible that some of this scripture can be considered the eternal word of “God” but other part’s should be considered in it’s “historical context”, then what should be used as a criteria to distinguish between the two? There’s nothing that I can figure here but someone’s subjective opinion, which as a subjective opinion is just about as good as anyone else’s subjective opinion including the people who enjoy killing for the love and devotion to Allah, as their Qur’an mandates them to do so. You can not as they say, have your cake and eat it too! This is such a well worn and persistent excuse I have chosen to discuss the fallacy of it more than once.

Any excuse will do! You don’t read Arabic? Well then! You just must have a misunderstanding! I ask my Muslim friends when they give me this, whether they speak Arabic and if they tell me no then I ask them how do they know I’m not reading it correctly because I don’t speak Arabic if they don’t either? For those that do speak Arabic I ask them just which word or words in my English/Arabic Qur’an missed a proper translation and exactly and what would be the proper translation and why? Once again, we can use our critical thinking skill…they always seem to want to quickly change the subject. When I bring them back to it, they often become angry at me and or insist on changing the subject. “Well I don’t have time for that now but um I’ll look that one up later and get back to you… they never do. Others will want to tell me about some sort of “secret” meaning that I just don’t understand because I’m not a Muslim! They of course forget the fact that this would render the spiritual revelation capability of the Qur’an meaningless as spiritual scripture because I would need to understand the Qur’an to be touched by the message and become a Muslim, but I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I already was a Muslim and understood it in the first place! I get this from Christian’s all the time! “Well you know, in order to really understand the Bible you need to have the ‘holy’ spirit”! It’s the same “catch 22″ your screwed both ways type of situation. Unless of course you choose to simply believe as they do, regardless of how nonsensical that may be.

I’m waiting for someone to tell me next about how I need special Qur’an reading glasses so that my eyesight and understanding isn’t obscured by the divine aura energy of the Qur’an!

They would rather remain ignorant of the fact that this sort of self denial about their own scripture and religious history is helping to kill people. The fanatical killing type of Muslim has an advantage with this when he looks at his people and says, “Look at this spectacle!” “They have allowed the unbeliever to con them into not knowing their own scripture!” ” Look at how they misconstrue this or that to be interpreted as something that the unbeliever will have no reason to fear!” “You have been made weak by the unbeliever.”

If you have a bit of trouble with this sort of talk, check this Islamic web site out and read this page thoroughly ….. http://islamqa.com/en/ref/43087 ironically this question and answer piece is also titled “Was Islam spread by the sword?” One of the things you’ll see written here is this:

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (12/14): “Islam spread by means of proof and evidence to those who listened to the message and responded to it, and it spread by means of force and the sword to those who were stubborn and arrogant, until they were overwhelmed and became no longer stubborn, and submitted to that reality”. Perhaps’ someone may wish to call their own Muslim a bunch of “Islamaphobe’s” also! Some Muslim’s will talk to me as if they can’t understand how I can have any Muslim friends and think for myself at the same time! These are usually the type who refuse to acknowledge any of this and would rather live in their own world of candy coated self denial.

In its own special way though, as well as being seen as something negative, this self denial can also actually be seen as a positive sign that Islam is willing to allow itself to develop more so into something that the majority of Muslim’s today prefer, that is of Islam as a peaceful and tolerant religion. The problem is that if we keep denying the root cause of the problem to begin with, because of some type of sacred fetishism for a book among other reasons, then that just makes it all so much more difficult to do so, because this by default only encourages those who do not engage in such fairy tale self denial.

Instead of picking a verse here or there to try and prove that the Qur’an demonstrates the religion of Islam as a religion of peace OR not, if you wish we can look look at the religious scripture of the Qur’an and Hadith as a whole and see just what the over whelming message really is. How many people who read this article will take advantage of the links that I have provided to do just that? If this article says something that you don’t like, will you just dismiss it with perhaps a little name calling or will you have the ability to take it a step further? After some of us have the courage to do so, let’s have the audacity to acknowledge what has been revealed to us. Is there more evidence that Islam developed into something that was intended to peacefully coexist or dominate? Now if you can show me Qur’an scripture that demonstrate that Islam was ment to dominate and I can show you a few examples of something that looks the opposite, is this not a further demonstration that Islam started out much more peaceful then what ended up developing, along with the “revelations” to justify this development? To say the very least we are looking at a highly contradictory situation and as previously mentioned I would suggest that these contradictions didn’t just “appear” for no reason out of nowhere. Do the terrorist today who kill in the name of “Allah” really have it all wrong? Have they just “hijacked” what was ultimately intended as a peaceful religion? If so, just where did they get the idea’s that encourage them to do so? I know it’s not from any Buddhist scripture.

Yes, killing in the name of “Allah” or tactically condoning such with blatant self denial and then declaring Islam a peaceful religion out of the other side of your mouth at your convenience I have a problem with, and when there are those who will want to take a little walk down to the corner of fairy tale street and bullshit avenue and encourage others to do the same, and when doing so can only further the potential encouragement of such very sad episodes of our history as an otherwise peace loving humanity….. then yes, I believe that I’ll have something to say about that as well.

Get it? Got it? …….Good.

I sincerely wish all of you a very peaceful spiritual life!

 

Bhikkhu aggacitto a.k.a. Brother Mark:)

References:

websites are all linked for your research convenience

1.http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/islam?show=0&t=1314944547

2.http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=984 also: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/39655

3.Visser, Hans & Visser, Herschel (2009). Islamic finance: principles and practice. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 29. ISBN 9781845425258

4.Fletcher, Richard (2006). Moorish Spain. Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 35. ISBN 0-520-24840-6.

5.P. 88 The Rosary and the Lamp By Baburao Patel

6.The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. the Nizam’s Dominions

7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakhtiyar_Khilji

8.http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/world-jewish-population.htm

9.Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia since c.1300, 2nd Edition. London:(9) MacMillan. pp. 3. ISBN 0-333-57689-.

10.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umayyad_conquest_of_North_Africa

11.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabians

12.Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish agnostic philosopher/historian who gave a series of lectures in 1840 titled, “On Heroes and Hero-Worship.” He considered Muhammad to be an example of a “Hero as  prophet”  here’s a link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/12685866/Hero-as-a-Prophet-by-Thomas-Carlyle

13.Detroit Free Press Jan 28, 2011- Muslim Population set to outpace others Also: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

14.http://www.unrv.com/economy/roman-taxes.php

15. The New York Times Oct.22, 2001 A NATION CHALLENGED: AMERICAN MUSLIMS; Islam Attracts Converts By the Thousand, Drawn Before and After Attacks

16.SeattleTimes Sept.10,2006 –Article- Muslim Immigration has bounced back

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003252072_911muslims10.html

17.Migration Information Source- July 1, 2006 http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/print.cfm?ID=409

18. American Religious Identification Survey, Key Findings The Graduate Center of the City University of New York : http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/GC-Faculty-Activities/ARIS–American-Religious-Identification-Survey/Key-findings

19. American Religious Identification Survey, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/GC-Faculty-Activities/ARIS–American-Religious-Identification-Survey

20. American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population A Report Based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008 http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/reports/NONES_08.pdf

21. American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population A Report Based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008 http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/reports/NONES_08.pdf

22. Faith World, “No religion” segment of U.S. population profiled/Sept.23, 2009

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2009/09/23/no-religion-segment-of-us-population-profiled/

23. The National Institute of Statistic and Geography (INEGI by its name in Spanish, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía)

24. American Religious Identification Survey, Key Findings The Graduate Center of the City University of New York: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/GC-Faculty-Activities/ARIS–American-Religious-Identification-Survey/Key-findings

25. Catholic News Agency- July 2011/ http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/mexico_still_catholic_but_number_of_atheists_on_the_rise/

26. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2006001/9181-eng.htm#decline “Who is Religious?” by Warren Clark and Grant Schellenberg

//

Posted in Islamic Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Why Are Buddhist Monks Attacking Muslims? A Response…..

Posted by Brother Mark:) on March 18, 2014

NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA

Translation: May veneration be presented to the exalted one who is a Buddha and has achived enlightenment by himself righteously. X3

http://talktruthful.com/2013/11/09/riots-in-burma-and-the-burmese-buddhists-monks/

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It would seem as if the purpose of this piece that we are to discuss, is to give the answer with the statement that all religions are just about as violent or peaceful as the next. Not only is this incorrect, but the usual simple-minded answer for simple-minded people. I’m going to give a link to the article in question at the start of the reference section in case anyone should think that I’m trying to deceive by omission, or that I’m simply making ridiculous statements. We shall leave that to the likes of Mr. Strathern, as he spills forth with his attempt of acedemic journalism that I’ve recently come across published under the banner of the B.B.C. It’s noteworthy as the kind of thing that many like to propagate when they wish to convince themselves and others that a religious teaching itself can’t be the problem but rather politics or economics or something else of the sort. Politics as an example, can be an issue that is worth looking at when many adhearants of a religion are being used and manipulated for political interests. It is certainly much easier to manipulate others into killing, when your religious scriptural standard of authority o.k.’s  it for certain people, all you have to do is convince them that those being killed are ‘those’ kind of people. When it comes to talk of what a religion itself teaches it is then best that such start making excuses for the religious teaching being discussed, if not just outright ignoring the issue of a religions teaching entirely. Dr. Alan Strathern I believe prefers the latter. One thing that you will notice is that with this type of piece there are NO referrences given what so ever, and that the reader should apparently just believe the validity of what this man chooses to spout off with. Not only is this irresponsible, but a typical propaganda style that comes of neccessity when you write the things that he has written here. Accordingly, this article has been copied and pasted a good deal by those who are either guillabe and or just wish from the start that his perspective is in allignment with what is objectively the most reasonable view. Due to the nature of this article that is being reviewed, I will use it’s critique as a platform to further discuss what has been happening in Sri Lanka . I shall give these memorable moments with some commentary directly following each utterance before we  proceed further…..

Why Are Buddhist Monks Attacking Muslims?

Alan Strathern

“Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So 

why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

This is happening in two countries separated by well over 1,000 miles of Indian Ocean - Burma and

Sri Lanka. It is puzzling because neither country is facing an Islamist militant threat. Muslims in

both places are a generally peaceable and small minority”.

.

“It is puzzling because neither country is facing an Islamist militant threat”.

.

This is simply a lie or Mr. Strather’s own ignorance talking here. At least as far as Burma is concerned, it is a documented fact that as far back as 2002, (from what we now know) that the so called “Rohingya” Muslim have been receiving both military and financial assistance from a long list of some very well known Islamic terrorist groups (1).

.

“While no Muslims have been killed in Sri Lanka, the Burmese situation is far more serious. Here the

antagonism is spearheaded by the 969 group, led by a monk, Ashin Wirathu, who was jailed in 2003 for

inciting religious hatred. Released in 2012, he has referred to himself bizarrely as “the Burmese

Bin Laden”.

.

The “Burmese Bin Laden” title isn’t something from what I’ve been able to tell that he created and propagated himself, but something that, even according to the Time magazine article of July 13, 2013 (international edition) that upset many people for being biased, was a title that was ‘given’ to him.

.

“March saw an outbreak of mob violence directed against Muslims in the town of Meiktila, in central

Burma, which left at least 40 dead.Tellingly, the violence began in a gold shop. The movements in 

both countries exploit a sense of economic grievance - a religious minority is used as the scapegoat

for the frustrated aspirations of the majority”.

.

OOPS! Does he tell you that the second wave of riots in Meiktila started when a muslim man poured gasoline over a Buddhist woman’s body and set her on fire? Or that the riots started when the dispute that started in a gold shop elsewhere, later was carried on further when a group of Muslim in front of a mosque pulled a Buddhist monk off of his bike and after pouring petrol on him before setting him on fire?(2) None of this has been disputed by anyone, although Dr. Strathern is mouthing it off here as if this were pre WWII Germany all over again.

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“But aren’t Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion”?

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“Aggressive thoughts are inimical to all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism even comes equipped with a 

practical way to eliminate them. Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those

of others should begin to dissolve, while your compassion for all living things grows.

Of course, there is a strong strain of pacifism in Christian teachings too: “Love your enemies and 

pray for those who persecute you,” were the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. 

Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide.Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vison can confer”.

.

“Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those

of others should begin to dissolve”…,

.

Where does this man get this? Certainly not from any Buddhist scripture that I know of. This is only one spot of several where he, as mentioned previously will just say stuff that you’re supposed to believe because he says it!

.

“But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. 

Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide.Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vison can confer”.

.

This may sound chock full of  history wisdom, but it is not true, and a serious error to just make this blanket statement regarding religion. A statement like this totally ignores the fact of the matter, as examples, that Christianity was co opted by the Roman empire beginning with Constantine’s conversion (3) and for where Christianity stood at that moment, I doubt highly that the emperor of Rome at the time felt that the Roman Empire needed the “popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vision can confer”, or that Islam established it’s own state power with its victory at Mecca (4), which is why year 1 of the Islamic calendar begins with that military victory and not as an example, when Muhammad the Muslim prophet purportedly received his first ‘revelation’ from the angel jabreel (Gabriel). The latter is also one reason why many consider Islam to be a political ideology as well as if not instead a religion.

I will also make a note here that king Asoka after his conversion to Buddhism became known as a very fair and compassionate ruler, as opposed to an “ultimate wielder of violence” (5).

.

The result can seem ironic. If you have a strong sense of the overriding moral superiority of your 

worldview, then the need to protect and advance it can seem the most important duty of all.

Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of “freedom-loving nations”, all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. 

Buddhist  rulers and monks have been no exception.

.

“So,historically,Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity”.

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So historically, this is an outright lie…..

We will look over why after these next few utterances from the good Dr. Alan Strathern.

.

One of the most famous kings in Sri Lankan history is Dutugamanu, whose unification of the island in

the 2nd Century BC is related in an important chronicle, the Mahavamsa.

It says that he placed a Buddhist relic in his spear and took 500 monks with him along to war against

a non-Buddhist king.He destroyed his opponents. After the bloodshed, some enlightened ones consoled 

him that the slain “were like animals; you will make the Buddha’s faith shine”.

Burmese rulers, known as “kings of righteousness”, justified wars in the name of what they called true

Buddhist doctrine.

.

What he does not tell you is that…

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Various writers have called into question the morality of the account given in the Mahavamsa, where Duttugemunu regrets his actions in killing the Chola king Elara and his troops. The Mahavamsa equates the killing of the invaders as being on par with the killing of “sinners and wild beasts”, and the King’s sorrow and regret are assuaged. This is considered by some critics as an ethical error. However, Buddhism does recognize a hierarchy of actions as being more or less wholesome or skillful, although the intent is as much as or more important than the action itself. Thus the killing of an Arahant may be considered less wholesome and skillful than the killing of an ordinary human being. Buddhists may also assert that killing an elephant is less skillful and wholesome than killing an ant. In both cases, however, the intent must also be considered. An important thing to note is that Dutthagamani regretted his act, and this was also true of King Asoka, who became a pacifist after a series of bloody military campaigns. (6)

It continues….

“In Japan, many samurai were devotees of Zen Buddhism and various arguments sustained them -killing a man about to commit a dreadful crime was an act of compassion, for example. Such 

reasoning surfaced again when Japan mobilised for World War II”.

.

 I would be very interested in this type of talk if someone could find me a Zen Buddhist priest that actually condonded this way of thought.

.

- “killing a man about to commit a dreadful crime was an act of compassion, for example”.

Usually this would be understood as a matter of self defense by proxy, or put more simply, coming to someone’s aid.

.

 “Such reasoning surfaced again when Japan mobilised for World War II”.

.

The fact that there were some who used the terminology of Buddhism to help propagate the war effort for Japan during World War II  I don’t believe is much of a mystery now a days.

.

“Buddhism took a leading role in the nationalist movements that emerged as Burma and Sri Lanka sought

to throw off the yoke of the British Empire. Occasionally this spilled out into violence. In 1930s

Rangoon, amid resorts to direct action, monks knifed four Europeans”.

.

Can a Buddhist monk become misguided and do something wrong? Of course, but there is a difference between that on the one hand, and on the other saying that the Buddhist religion historically has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity.

.

“More importantly, many came to feel Buddhism was integral to their national identity - and the 

position of minorities in these newly independent nations was an uncomfortable one.

In 1983, Sri Lanka’s ethnic tensions broke out into civil war. Following anti-Tamil pogroms, 

separatist Tamil groups in the north and east of the island sought to break away from the Sinhalese

majority government”.

.

“In 1983, Sri Lanka’s ethnic tensions broke out into civil war”.

.

Precisely. These were ethnic tensions, not Buddhist’s warring with Hindu because they weren’t Buddhist. From the ideal perspective, they should have not cared whether they were Tamil or not, but this in no way can make Buddhism a violent religion. For that discussion we need to examine a particular religions scriptural standard of authority, as to what it does actually teach as a religion.

During WWII most of the combatants on all sides were Christian, should we blame WWII on Christianity and declare it as evidence of the violence of Christianity historically? Christian scripture may have made it easier for some, but I wouldn’t get carried away. Can anyone show me any Buddhist scripture that would have encouraged any monks to knife four Europeans?

.

Violence has left many Burmese Muslims homeless

.

“During the war, the worst violence against Sri Lankan Muslims came at the hands of the Tamil rebels.

But after the fighting came to a bloody end with the defeat of the rebels in 2009, it seems that 

majority communal passions have found a new target in the Muslim minority.

In Burma, monks wielded their moral authority to challenge the military junta and argue for democracy in the Saffron Revolution of 2007. Peaceful protest was the main weapon of choice this time, and monks paid with their lives.

Now some monks are using their moral authority to serve a quite different end. They may be a minority, but the 500,000-strong monkhood, which includes many deposited in monasteries as children to escape poverty or as 

orphans, certainly has its fair share of angry young men.

The exact nature of the relationship between the Buddhist extremists and the ruling parties in both 

countries is unclear.

Sri Lanka’s powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was guest of honour at the opening of a 

Buddhist Brigade training school, and referred to the monks as those who “protect our country, 

religion and race”.

“But the anti-Muslim message seems to have struck a chord with parts of the population.

Even though they form a majority in both countries, many Buddhists share a sense that their nations

must be unified and that their religion is under threat”.

.

I will stress that none of this in any way can make Buddhism a violent religion. For that discussion we need to examine a particular religions scriptural standard of authority, as to what it does actually teach as a religion and why. This is why the “Buddhist extremists” aren’t allowed by way of ruling party influence etc. to display this sort of behavior in but the most isolated of a circumstance, if our scripture taught such ignorance or in any way encouraged it, this would be a world-wide phenomenon.  It amazes me to see that someone so otherwise intelligent, insists on not recognizing the difference between what a religion teaches as its religious teaching, and what some adherents of that or any other religion may choose for whatever other reason to do, whether god or bad. he acknowledges the teaching of Buddhism to be peaceful, but then attempts to supersede that by comparing Buddhism to other religions ‘historically’ by giving his take on the few examples that can be found capable of associating violence anywhere near Buddhism. If he should try to choose the way out by saying that the above statement :

.

“So,historically, Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity”,

.

is qualified by the word ‘historically’ as regards the practice of Buddhism historically, he still errs by A. considering it the practice of Buddhism, and B. even if that could be considered true, there is still I would have to say no competition at all in the department of sadistic cruelty and murder when it comes to a religions like Christianity or Islam. Since he decides to compare the two, and this is a slick way of saying that Buddhism is and has been as violent as Christianity, check out this link given in the reference section for a taste of just what I’m talking about. (7)

.

Mr. Strathern does not give any room in this type of discussion for what a religion’s standard of authority has to say about violence.

I must wonder, just how it is that some people otherwise so very intelligent can talk with such an ignorance that they ignore the importance of one’s religious scripture and it’s impact on the what a religion can justify as acceptable ?

This is why when Buddhist’s act violently in this way they are going against the teaching of our scripture, not in accordance with it.

It is because a religion such as Christianity or Islam can’t say that there is not a single verse that encourages or mandates violence in their respective scripture and that truth be told the opposite is true, that the history of both Islam and Christianity have a history of an incredible amount of more violence and blood shed. Just one example of this scriptural encouragement would be the New Testament Book of Acts Ch.10 where the Christian’s “holy Spirit” murders a husband and wife for not coughing it all up so to speak to the apostle Peter after having sold some land. If this is the type of example set by their ‘loving’ God, whom they consider the pinnacle of righteous morality, how can we wonder why there has been so much more torture and cruelty and killing, with the history of such religions?

.

“The global climate is crucial. People believe radical Islam to be at the centre of the many of the 

most violent conflicts around the world”. 

.

“They feel they are at the receiving end of conversion drives

by the much more evangelical monotheistic faiths. And they feel that if other religions are going to

get tough, they had better follow suit”.

.

Just who is he calling ‘they’? It would be nice if he were to at least try to substansiate this statement somehow, but of course, as mentioned, he doesn’t even try.

So what of Sri lanka today? Should anyone be concerned about Islam and what it teaches as a religion? I don’t see any reason why not.Throwing stones may be another religion’s best shot, but this can’t be said for Buddhism.The best advantage for the religion of Buddhism is the using of our intellect,not the lowering of our minds to the behavior of a simple animal.

I believe that we can all learn a lesson from the way that the concerns about an aggressive and prostelizying religion have been dealt with before in Sri lanka’s past….

Panadura Debate -The Buddhist Christian Debate

An Inaccurate Prediction
With the authorities’ increasingly unfriendly attitude towards Buddhism, and the missionaries’ aggressive and incessant attacks on their religion, the monks eventually started to defend their faith against the Christians.

Their response however, was disorganized and ineffectual and limited to their sermons on holy days. The Buddhist community also petitioned the government to stop or moderate these attacks, but to no avail.

The view of the authorities was that Buddhism was doomed in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, well-known figures such as the Sinhalese Christian scholar, James D’Alwis, and the Methodist missionary, Spence Hardy, confidently predicted that it would soon be replaced by Christianity.

The missionaries had acquired a printing press around 1820 which they used to churn out pamphlets and tracts denigrating Buddhism and promoting their own religion. Many of these publications were written by the Methodist minister and scholar, Rev. Daniel Gogerly, who was also an expert in the Pali language. The missionaries even distributed their materials at Buddhist events and started to challenge the monks to public debates.

The Buddhists finally bought a press of their own in 1855 and a second one was acquired in 1862, financed by King Mongkut of Thailand. Ven. Mohottiwatte Gunananda, a forceful and articulate monk from Colombo, and the more renowned Ven. Hikkaduve Sumangala in Galle, wrote most of the Buddhist tracts and pamphlets.

The monks at first ignored the missionaries’ challenges to debate. This was a disappointment to the Christians as they hoped to humiliate the monks in public, and thus hasten the downfall of Buddhism. However, the monks eventually accepted these challenges, to the glee of the Christians.

Three debates were held, in 1865, 1871 and 1873 and were formal affairs with ground rules established before-hand, and proper exchanges between the parties. They culminated in the last and most famous one known as the Panadura Debate. The Buddhists were led by Ven. Mohottiwatte Gunananda and Ven. Hikkaduve Sumangala. The Christians were represented by Rev. David de Silva, the Sinhalese protégé of Rev. Daniel Gogerly, and Rev. F.S.Sirimanne, a catechist of the Church Missionary Society.

The local population took great interest in the final debate which lasted for two days. It had very much of a festive atmosphere with the crowd swelling to more than 10,000 people by the second day. The final debate, one of the most important events in Sri Lankan Buddhist history, was covered by the Sinhalese and English language newspapers.

The proceedings were also published in book form by an American scholar, Dr. J. M. Peebles, who was present at the debate, and who ended up very impressed by the performance of the monks. Another American, Colonel Henry Steele Olcott, chanced upon a copy of this book in America, the result of which was to have far-reaching effects for the future of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and beyond.

The Lion’s Roar
Ven. Mohottiwatte Gunananda and Rev. David de Silva, the two main protagonists in the Panadura Debate, had very contrasting styles and characters. Already a seasoned debater, Gunananda was able to play to the audience, standing up and dramatically gesticulating as he spoke. He also addressed the audience in everyday Sinhalese, whereas de Silva used many Pali and Sanskrit quotes which they could not understand easily. Having received a Christian education, Gunananda also knew the Bible very well.

On his own, Gunananda was more than a match for the Christian debaters in terms of oratorical skills. It was his Lion’s Roar which dispelled the fear and shame imposed on the Buddhists by the missionaries’ continual disparagement of their religion, and it reawakened the country’s pride in its religion.

After much arguments and counter-arguments, the turning point of the debate was when Ven. Gunananda pointed to the verse at Judges 1:19 in the Bible. The verse states : “And the LORD was with Judah, and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

Gunananda said that this showed clearly that the God could not be omnipotent as claimed, if he could not even overcome iron chariots. Rev. de Silva tried to explain that the reason the God did not overcome the chariots was because Judah did not have enough faith in him. However, Gunananda countered by asking, if Judah did not have enough faith, then why was the God with him in the first place?

Many Sri Lankans believe that evil spirits are afraid of iron. In fact, they commonly hang a piece of iron up on their homes to keep evil spirits at bay. Gunananda’s point thus made sense to the audience because of this.

Although there were more arguments, the debate was effectively over by the first day. The victory for the Buddhists could not have been more resounding and emphatic, with the crowd shouting and cheering for Gunananda and the other monks. The Lion had Roared.

Word of the triumph spread rapidly throughout the island with temples, villages and towns breaking out in open and joyous celebration. Reflecting the open and tolerant nature of the people, the festivities were free from hostility and anger towards the defeated party, even though they were boisterous and happy.

Mohottiwatte Gunananda
Mohottiwatte Gunananda was born in 1823 in the village of Mohottiwatta to a prosperous Buddhist family. Monks in Sri Lanka, after ordination, commonly affix the name of their village to their own name. Gunananda had been in close contact with a Catholic priest in his youth and received his education in Christian schools. He had at one time, even considered becoming a Christian priest.

However, he changed his mind after associating with some monks from his village and ordained at the age of 20, becoming a member of the Amarapura fraternity. His oratorical skills soon became apparent and he started to also acquire great proficiency in the Buddhist teachings.

After learning that Buddhists in Colombo were being subject to pressure from the missionaries and discrimination by the government, he moved there and began defending Buddhism with his publications and speeches. In 1862, he formed the ‘Society for the Propagation of Buddhism’ to organize resistance against the missionaries’ attacks, and to publish tracts and pamphlets to counter the anti-Buddhist materials distributed by the Christians.

Gunananda then led the Buddhists in the momentous series of debates with the Christians, which culminated in the famous Panadura Debate of 1873. His outstanding performance and convincing victory sparked off the island-wide revival of Buddhism, and he was hailed a national hero.

Before his death at the age of 67 in 1890, Gunananda continued his efforts in helping to revitalize the Sasana. He published many works and also served on the committee that designed the Buddhist flag.

The Christian and Muslim need to be challenged not with violence, but with intellect, and if they don’t like a discussion of what it is exactly that their religion does teach according to their own scripture, well then, that should be considered just too bad. An open and honest discussion should be allowed, not the violence of a riot. However, in today’s time if this is done I’m sure that some will want to have someone else put in jail for some sort of crime entailing the charge of spreading religious hatred. Section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that prohibits speech which ‘causes or intends to cause commission of acts of violence or religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities or racial or religious groups’ (9)  is what has been used in the past to the advantage of Buddhists.

It is exactly this that inhibits the free dissemination of one’s point of view and then can lead to the onslaught of violence, once many figure that there is no other way of addressing the matter without someone looking to put you in jail for it. This is just another reason why when we seek to legally gag free speech in the name of tolerance, we end up promoting intolerance for another point of view. If someone is concerned about any possible disorderly conduct or the like while excercising a promotion of their point of view, then certainly there are laws on the books to help prevent that sort of thing that are availabe to be enforced.  If any society or religious group were really looking to encourage tolerance then we should be able to tolerate someone else’s point of view, instead of promoting intolerance … in the name of tolerance.

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I wish everyone a totally peaceful day!

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Bhikkhu aggacitto a.k.a. Brother Mark:)

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References

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22356306

1. .http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/DI21Df06.html

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Burma_anti-Muslim_riots

3. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/legitimization.html

4.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquest_of_Mecca

5.http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavamsa

7. http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

8.http://www.scribd.com/doc/47524900/Island-Of-Light

9. http://www.southasianrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/SL-Security-Laws-Final.pdf

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