Haram Month 2017 #4 – The foreign policy canard

Whenever we have to discuss the threat of Islamic terrorism, there is always a rather pernicious canard thrown around. The idea that Islamic terrorism is driven predominantly by American or Western imperialism, most of the time referring to America. While I’m sure America’s antics in the Middle East has indeed caused some resentment among ordinary Muslims towards the American state, one wonders why it seems like Islamic terrorists love to target Europe? Do they think that by attacking Europe they will cause America to back down, when at this point they would probably be more likely to shut their borders? What’s more, if they are solely motivated by hatred of the American state because of alleged imperialism, why do they go and kill ordinary European citizens, rather than target American government officials, embassies or military bases?

And while we in Britain were still reeling from the brutal terrorist attack that occurred in Manchester, England, radical Islamist military forces were busy trying to take over a city in the Phillipines. Yes, an Islamic militia known as Maute (aka the Islamic State of Lanao) attacked the city of Marawi, and became locked in battle with Filipino forces. The entire time I wondered, baffled, what did the Philippines do to deserve this? Where are they involved in the foreign policy canard? Was the Philippines involved in any military interventions or excursions in the Middle East? Whenever I asked, no one could give an answer. Perhaps that is because they can’t. There is no intervention that I’m aware of. Clearly, whatever reason the Islamists had to try and take over Marawi had nothing to do with it.

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Haram Month 2017 #3 – Antisemitism and Islam

In Islam, Jews are regarded as People of the Book, alongside Christians, which you would think means that they share some sort of brotherhood on the grounds that they all believe in God under different names. If that’s the case, why do Middle Eastern Muslims view the Jewish people with such contempt?

Anti-Semitism is so widespread in the Middle East, that MEMRI TV has a whole project wherein they document it. You can also find several clips of anti-Semitic commentary from Middle Eastern TV on YouTube. Honestly, it’s worth a laugh more than anything else.

What’s more, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is apparently a best-seller in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, as well as Bangladesh. Another book, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is apparently a best-seller in Syria, and is cited as evidence of Zionist imperialism in Article 32 of the Hamas Charter (or The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance as it’s also known). It is also not uncommon in the Arab world for Jews to be viewed as the descendants of apes and pigs.

And of course, this is isn’t something that exists outside the religious teachings of Islam, as taught by the Quran:

And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who – ascribe partners to Allah (and do not believe in Resurrection – Magians, pagans, and idolaters, etc.). Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allah is All-Seer of what they do..” – Quran 2:96

And certainly Allah made a covenant with the children of Israel, and We raised up among them twelve chieftains; and Allah said: Surely I am with you; if you keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and believe in My apostles and assist them and offer to Allah a goodly gift, I will most certainly cover your evil deeds, and I will most certainly cause you to enter into gardens beneath which rivers flow, but whoever disbelieves from among you after that, he indeed shall lose the right way.

But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard; they altered the words from their places and they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of; and you shall always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them; so pardon them and turn away; surely Allah loves those who do good (to others).” – Quran 5:12-13

O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” – Quran 5:51

You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.” – Quran 5:82

And then there’s the Hadiths, which feature this line rather frequently cited by anti-Semitic Islamic clerics:

Ibn ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me) ; kill him.” – Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6981

But what am I saying? This is all just coming out a vacuum and has nothing to do with Islam.

Haram Month 2017 #2 – Sikhism and Islam

For some reason, there is tendency among some people to confused Muslims for Sikhs. In fact there was one incident around the time of the Manchester attack when Cosmpolitan saw a Sikh man offering free taxi rides to people in Manchester who may have been in need or danger and falsely identified him as a Muslim man, presumably in an opportunistic attempt to point Muslims in a positive or humanitarian light. So I think it’s worth having a look at Sikhism, and the relationship between Sikhism and Islam.

Sikhism is an Indian religion which believes in one God, a formless and genderless God at that, which they believe to be found in all things and all beings and cannot be incarnated in a concrete form. Many Sikhs profess their religion to about honesty, charity, sharing with others, getting close to God and controlling the “weakness” of the human personality through meditating on God, and the premise that all humans are equal before God. Like Hindus, Sikhs believe in reincarnation and karma, but unlike Hindus they reject the implementation of the caste system and the premise of needing to lead a particularly monastic or ascetic lifestyle in order to attain closeness to God, instead believing that meditation and good works within worldly life can achieve that closeness, and there is no dietary restriction involving meat. The religion seems to have been founded in the 15th century by a man named Guru Nanak, who expounded what would come to be known as the teachings of Sikhism during his lifetime. According to Sikh lore, he was the first of ten Gurus who contributed to the development of Sikh teachings. Although the Gurus are seen as important to their teachings, they are not seen as godlike, and since Sikhism rejects idolatry believers insist that the Gurus should not be worshiped in the same way that God is worshiped.

Muslims, naturally, consider Sikhism to be a false doctrine, and sometimes they perceive Sikhs as having a hatred of Islam. Relations between Sikhs and Muslims have not always been peaceful, not least because of the obvious doctrinal differences between Sikhism and Islam. Sikhs don’t worship the human proponents of their religion, where Islam worships Muhammad along Allah as his prophet. Islam has an entire legal and political code built around the teachings of Sharia, where Sikhism does not.  Not to mention, there has been some historical violent conflict between Muslims and Sikhs. During the partition of what was formerly British India, Sikhs and Muslims attacked and killed one another in Punjab, which some believe may have been instigated by Muslims.

In Britain, Sikhs are often seen as a model of integration of foreign cultures into British society. British Sikhs fought alongside their countrymen in the British Army in defense of their country, and have generally been respected by their fellow Brits ever since, though some feel they are overlooked in the political discussion of the merits of multiculturalism vs assimilation. At any rate, Sikhs certainly don’t seem to have much of the problems associated with the Islamic community. It’s a shame that people get the two confused.

Haram Month 2017 #1 – Bid’ah

Over the course of this year, there is a part of me that is becoming somewhat convinced that Islam is not something that can be reformed in the way that people like Maajid Nawaz hope it can be. One of the reasons for this is something called Bid’ah.

Bid’ah, in Islamic tradition, is a term that is used to refer to doctrinal innovations that fall outside of the sphere of Islamic doctrine as espoused in the Quran and the Hadiths (or Sunnah).

There is a Hadith wherein the prophet Muhammad is reported to have explicitly condemned all innovations as leading people to damnation.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would praise Allah in his sermon as He deserves to be praised and then he would say, “Whoever Allah guides, no one can lead him astray. Whoever Allah sends astray, no one can guide him. The truest word is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil matters are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Then the Prophet would hold up his two fingers and say, “The Hour and I have been sent as close together as these two.” Whenever the Prophet mentioned the Hour, his cheeks would turn red and he would raise his voice and become very upset, as if he were warning us of an approaching army, saying, “It is coming in the morning or the evening!” Then the Prophet would say, “Whoever leaves behind his wealth, it is for his family. Whoever leaves behind a debt or his dependents, then they are my responsibility. I am the first to take care of the believers.” – Sunan An-Nasa’i 1578

From what I understand, the concept of Bid’ah is actually a subject of debate within the Islamic world. Bid’ah often falls into a set of classifications based on “good” and “bad”. “Good” Bid’ah refers to innovations that don’t explicitly contradict the teachings of the Quran and the Hadiths or Sharia law, while “bad” Bid’ah refers to such innovations that do contradict those teachings and are deemed to be against it. Some Muslims view these categories as necessary, arguing that the teachings of Islam will only survive if they can adapt to change, which is an amicable sentiment to hold.

The problem with the idea of approved innovations to Islamic doctrine, however, is that there is a verse in the Quran wherein the perfection of Islam (from the viewpoint of the Quran) is rather clearly explicated.

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” – Quran 5:3

And remember that in Islam, the Quran and the Hadiths are the final word of God.

To me it is likely because the mentality of the finality of the teachings of Islam, and the classification reserved for ideas outside of Islam that might lead to its reform or renewal, will not pose much other than an obstacle to the reform so desired liberal/secular Muslims. Indeed, given the barbarity and absurdity of the Islamic religion, it is far better to simply abandon the religion entirely in favor of either a different religion or atheism/secularism.

Haram Month #16 – The golden age of Islam?

I find it hard to believe there was ever a time when Islam made a civilization great. If anything, the history of the 20th century suggests to me that it made countries in the Middle East worse. Iran, for instance, went from a secular pro-Western nation to an Islamic theocracy during the late 1970’s, and we all know what Iran is like nowadays. Yet there are those who believe that, at one point in time, there was an Islamic “golden age”, where science, knowledge and social progress flourish while Christian Europe languished in the dark ages.

It’s funny to think how people can claim that all that makes the modern world was predated by Islamic (they actually mean Arab) civilization, while the Islamic faith and its teachings (contained in the Quran and the Hadiths) are by and large at odds with and diametrically opposed to these things. Science is seen as subservient to the teachings of Islam, because it is seen as the work of Man, and any scientific findings that contradict this are seen as blasphemous. That at least is the case in the Middle East, where one might find clerics who deny that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The idea that a woman is equal to a man is contrary to Sharia law, which considers the testimony of a woman to worth half that of a man – which also means that the Western concept of human rights finds no support in the teachings of Islam. And where would the progressive narrative be without tolerance? Well let’s just say the Jews didn’t exactly feel any of that tolerance. You can also forget the idea that Islamic civilization was somehow better than “Western colonialism and imperialism” considering that Muhammad, the man from whom the teachings of Islam are ultimately derived, established Islam through the conquest of pagan Mecca.

Oh and let’s not forget the Arab slave trade, which had gone on for centuries and very often targeted Africans, and the fact that slavery was permitted by the Quran and the Hadiths.

Allah presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can he be equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know.” Surah An-Nahl 16:75

And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” – Quran An-Nisa 4:24

A man decided that a slave of his would be manumitted after his death and later on he was in need of money, so the Prophet took the slave and said, “Who will buy this slave from me?” Nu’aim bin ‘Abdullah bought him for such and such price and the Prophet gave him the slave.” – Bukhari Volume 3, Book

For one year I wanted to ask ‘Umar about the two women who helped each other against the Prophet but I was afraid of him. One day he dismounted his riding animal and went among the trees of Arak to answer the call of nature, and when he returned, I asked him and he said, “(They were) ‘Aisha and Hafsa.” Then he added, “We never used to give significance to ladies in the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, but when Islam came and Allah mentioned their rights, we used to give them their rights but did not allow them to interfere in our affairs. Once there was some dispute between me and my wife and she answered me back in a loud voice. I said to her, ‘Strange! You can retort in this way?’ She said, ‘Yes. Do you say this to me while your daughter troubles Allah’s Apostle?’ So I went to Hafsa and said to her, ‘I warn you not to disobey Allah and His Apostle.’ I first went to Hafsa and then to Um Salama and told her the same. She said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! It surprises me that you interfere in our affairs so much that you would poke your nose even into the affairs of Allah’s Apostle and his wives.’ So she rejected my advice. There was an Ansari man; whenever he was absent from Allah’s Apostle and I was present there, I used to convey to him what had happened (on that day), and when I was absent and he was present there, he used to convey to me what had happened as regards news from Allah’s Apostle . During that time all the rulers of the nearby lands had surrendered to Allah’s Apostle except the king of Ghassan in Sham, and we were afraid that he might attack us. All of a sudden the Ansari came and said, ‘A great event has happened!’ I asked him, ‘What is it? Has the Ghassani (king) come?’ He said, ‘Greater than that! Allah’s Apostle has divorced his wives! I went to them and found all of them weeping in their dwellings, and the Prophet had ascended to an upper room of his. At the door of the room there was a slave to whom I went and said, “Ask the permission for me to enter.” He admitted me and I entered to see the Prophet lying on a mat that had left its imprint on his side. Under his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. Behold! There were some hides hanging there and some grass for tanning. Then I mentioned what I had said to Hafsa and Um Salama and what reply Um Salama had given me. Allah’s Apostle smiled and stayed there for twenty nine days and then came down.” – Bukhari 7, Book 72 Number 734

So yes, I find the idea that Islam brought about some kind of golden age of civilization hard to believe.

And with that, this year’s Haram Month is concluded. There will probably be another Haram Month on this blog, assuming our society continues its dishonesty on the subject of Islam.

Haram Month #15 – The rise of the prison terror cult

According to the Telegraph, a disturbing new report reveals that there is a culture of cultural sensitivity towards Muslim prisoners in British prisons, which is leading to a rise in extremism in those prisons. In other words, the police are looking the other way when people are doing something wrong because they happen to be Muslims.

This is exactly how the Rotherham grooming gangs were allowed to continue abusing children for 16 years. This is the kind of thing Tommy Robinson talks about and has warned people about.

And since Anjem Choudary is in prison I have no doubt that, unless he spends his time in solitary confinement, he may yet be one of the self-styled emirs that act like basically cult leaders. Imagine it: a man like Choudary, with a proven history of radicalizing and indoctrinating people in order to get them to commit terrorist acts, prison staff not being able to stop them because of religious sensitivity and then one day the terrorists he radicalizes get released from jail only to commit atrocities guided by the influence of their self-styled emir.

Unless the culture of police being bound to the irrational fear of being labelled a racist simply for exercising their duty changes, we may look forward to significant loss of innocent life. One of these days, we will be unable to escape the price we pay for political correctness.

Haram Month #14 – Honor killings and Islam

Honor killing is a phenomenon that is widely known in the UK associated with Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. In fact, about 11,000 “honor-based” crimes were recorded by British police between 2010-2014. The issue was brought to the cultural fore early this year when the drama Murdered By My Father was released by BBC Three, of all channels, which tells the story of a young woman who is killed by her father for bringing shame upon her family by engaging in a secret relationship with a young man with whom she was not arranged to be married, which is also apparently based on a real-life account.

Last month a Pakistani celebrity named Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother, apparently for “dishonoring her family name”. She was apparently known for posting raunchy photos, videos and comments on social media and facing constant backlash from the highly socially conservative community in Pakistan. And how was her death treated by the people of Pakistan? With celebration, of course. Many people in Pakistan seemed to view her death as a righteous death, for she had supposedly dishonored her family with her raunchy celebrity persona.

So what does any of this have to do with Islam, you might wonder?

Generally it is believed that honor-based violence is prohibited by Islamic law. The following Quranic verse is usually cited:

And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” – Surah  An-Nis 4:93

However, there is also parable found in the Quran concerning Moses (or Musa as he is known to Muslims), who is regarded as one of the most important and prominent prophets besides Muhammad himself, and a man named Khidr (or al-Khidr), who is described as a servant of Allah.

Then they found one of Our slaves, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.

Musa (Moses) said to him (Khidr) ‘May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?’

He (Khidr) said: “Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me!

And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?”

Musa (Moses) said: ‘If Allah will, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.’

He (Khidr) said: ‘Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you.’

So they both proceeded, till, when they embarked the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Musa (Moses) said: ‘Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing ‘Imra’ (a Munkar – evil, bad, dreadful thing).’

He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?”

Musa (Moses) said: “Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).”

Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Musa (Moses) said: ‘Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing “Nukra” (a great Munkar – prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!’

(Khidr) said: ‘Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?’

Musa (Moses) said: ‘If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’

Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Musa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!”

(Khidr) said: “This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.

As for the ship, it belonged to Masakin (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them who seized every ship by force.

And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.

So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy.” – Surah Al-Kahf 18:65-81

In the parable, Khidr explains to Moses that he kills a child because he was rebellious and transgressive, or feared to be rebellious and transgressive. While this verse is by no means an explicit commandment telling Muslims to kill people who bring shame upon their families, I think parables like this can be used to justify similar actions. Let’s remember: this the word of Allah we’re talking about, or rather a servant of his. It’s like how in Islamic countries, child marriage is justified on the grounds that Muhammad, whose example Muslims are expected to follow, married a 6-year old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9-years old.

There are also Hadiths where vigilantism against sinners is condoned or even commanded:

Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah’s Apostle, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky than ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you (not a Hadith) then it was indeed a trick (i.e., I may say things just to cheat my enemy). No doubt I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.” – Bukhari Volume 9 Book 84 Number 64

A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it. He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.” – Abu Dawud, Book 36 Number 4348

A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood” – Abu Dawud, Book 36 Number 4349

There is also a Hadith where “legal” punishment carried out against relatives is deemed permissible.

It was narrated from `Ubadah bin Samit that the Messenger of Allah said: Carry out the legal punishments on relatives and strangers, and do not let the fear of blame stop you from carrying out the command of Allah (SWT)” – Ibn Majah 3:20:2540

Not to mention, there’s a Hadith condemning women who arrange their own marriages as adulteresses – adultery, by the way, is traditionally punished in the Islamic world by stoning if you’re a woman – and thus a woman arranging her own marriage is forbidden.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that: the Messenger of Allah said: No woman should arrange the marriage of another woman, and no woman should arrange her own marriage. The adulteress is the one who arranges her own marriage.” – Ibn Maja 3:9:1882

It is naive to assume that honor-based violence isn’t derived from the teachings of Islam, when in fact such a thing is approved by the Hadiths, which would also mean they are approved by Sharia law -itself based on the Hadiths as well as the word of the Quran.

It’s also worth noting that Jordan, Syria and Palestine have relaxed laws on honor-based violence, and Pakistan is only recently introducing a law fully banning honor killing in light of Qandeel Baloch’s murder. And is it any coincidence that 91% percent of honor killings worldwide have been recorded as being committed by Muslims?

I doubt that honor killing is a phenomenon exclusively associated with Islam, as I am aware that honor-based killings have also been committed by Hindus in India – not to mention the Khap Panchayats dispensing their own brand of “justice”. However, I am convinced that, in the Muslim world, honor-based violence is something that can be justified based on the Hadiths, which means that Islam might make up a signification portion of the “cultural reasons” one might attribute as the cause of honor killings. At any rate, it is inescapable that honor killing in the Muslim world is in some way tied to Islam.