Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sura 9

From the Koran (Sura 9:5, 29-30):

So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. If they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them. ... Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book [i.e., Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [i.e., the special tax imposed on non-Muslims] in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. And the Jews say: Uzair [i.e., Ezra] is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: the Messiah is the son of Allah. These are the blasphemous words of their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before. May Allah destroy them! They have surely turned away.


Robert Spencer comments:

Thus, the difference between the Qur'an's "slay the unbelievers wherever you find them" (Sura 9:5) and the Bible verses he quotes is that in Islam, violence is not justified by twisting a few scattered verses; instead, it's enshrined in tradition and theology.

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, translator of the Hadith collection Sahih Bukhari, explains that the Qur'an's violent verses actually take precedence over its peaceful ones: "At first 'the fighting' was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory." S. K. Malik in The Qur'anic Concept of War explains that Allah gave Muslims "a divine command making war a religious obligation for the faithful." All four schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence -- Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali -- teach an elaborate doctrine of jihad that sanctions killing in the name of Islam. Said the great Muslim jurist, philosopher, and historian Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406): "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations."


And:

This is the triple choice: conversion, death, or submission. This verse comes from Sura At-Tawba, the last sura revealed. If any verse contradicts it, Sura 9:29 must be given precedence because the sura from which it comes is the Qur'an’s last word on the subject. Even if the tolerance verses aren't cancelled according to the Muslim principle of abrogation (naskh), the tolerant verses such as those you quote must be understood in light of Sura 9.

I didn’t make up this interpretation. It comes from respected Islamic authorities: Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, and innumerable other classic and respected Qur’an commentaries. And they were working from the Muhammad’s amplification of the triple alternative for unbelievers -- conversion, death, or submission -- in a strong Hadith in Sahih Muslim (4294).

17 comments:

  1. Not that I'm a big fan of Islam, but if you think Sura 9:5 is bad, what do you do with Numbers 31 or I Sam 15? If you look at the context of Sura 9 you see that we're talking about a context of war, not simply going after random people that are unbelievers. A peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriqs had been violated, so the Mushriqs were given four months to make ammends, after which war would be declared.

    Let's just look at the section where you've ommitted some text with ellipses.

    "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful."

    This translation is different from yours. I couldn't say which one is more accurate. But regardless, even with your translation, I'd take this over the God of I Sam 15, killing infants for the sins of their long dead ancestors. At least there's a means to be spared. Change your ways and you are given mercy according to Islam. Not the God of Numbers 31. Everyone is killed except the young non-virgin girls regardless of repentance. Do you not see the log in your own eye?

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you'll refer to the T-blog archives, I believe Steve has already addressed this. See here, for example (particularly #11, although the whole Q&A is worth reading). I recall he had a fuller explanation elsewhere on T-blog, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you buy off on that explanation from Steve on I Sam 15, then what is your problem with Sura 9? Peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and Mushriqs was impossible. They were evil and deserving of judgement. Killing them served his purposes. Why are these reasons valid when applied to I Sam 15, but invalid when applied to Sura 9?

    And isn't it a fact that the Koran affords mercy and a means to make ammends for those being attacked, but Num 31 and I Sam 15 simply offer blanket destruction for all with no allowance for sparing anyone (except of course the young girls that will be used to satisfy the attacking men)? The God of the Koran is more just, more forgiving, more merciful with regards to these attack orders than your God, yet you condemn the God of the Koran. How does that work?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jon Curry said...

    "If you buy off on that explanation from Steve on I “Sam 15, then what is your problem with Sura 9? Peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and Mushriqs was impossible. They were evil and deserving of judgement. Killing them served his purposes. Why are these reasons valid when applied to I Sam 15, but invalid when applied to Sura 9?"

    1.Well, for starters, Muhammad was a false prophet. So there's one fundamental asymmetry.

    What serves the purposes of a false prophet is hardly self-warranting.

    2.Since, however, you admit that both sides were evil and deserving of judgment, suppose we split the difference and recommend the blanket destruction of both sides?

    “And isn't it a fact that the Koran affords mercy and a means to make ammends for those being attacked, but Num 31 and I Sam 15 simply offer blanket destruction for all with no allowance for sparing anyone (except of course the young girls that will be used to satisfy the attacking men)? The God of the Koran is more just, more forgiving, more merciful with regards to these attack orders than your God, yet you condemn the God of the Koran. How does that work?”

    Several issues:

    1.If you think that Islam is more merciful than Judaism, then why don’t you put your theory to the test by living in Jerusalem for a year, and then living in Pakistan or Iran or Saudi Arabia for a year.

    2.Jason, Gene, and I have discussed the rationale for OT holy war on more than one occasion.

    Here’s a novel idea which, I can see, has never occurred to you: if you want to prove the intellectual superiority of atheism over Christian theism, why don’t you demonstrate a modicum of intellectual effort by actually engaging our arguments? Are you capable of doing that?

    3.What you do, instead, like all secular slackers, is to simply point to something you find morally offensive, jump and shout and shake your fist, without bothering, for once, to justify your moral framework.

    Jon, do you believe in moral absolutes? If so, explain your secular justification.

    But if, to the contrary, you’re a moral relativist, then there goes the argument from evil.

    You and Dawkins and Loftus et al. seem to think that you can constantly shirk your own burden of proofs, as if we’ll give you a pass.

    How long does it take you to figure out that we won’t give you a pass? Are you slow learners? Or are you shooting blanks?

    ReplyDelete
  5. 1.Well, for starters, Muhammad was a false prophet. So there's one fundamental asymmetry.

    That's really the bottom line. Patrick, your problem is not violence. There's nothing wrong with "killing unbelievers wherever you find them." The Bible has this repeatedly. Your problem is you don't like it when people who follow other gods do exactly what the Bible does in the name of YHWH. Our acts of violence (killing women and children, saving virgin girls for yourselves, but killing nursing boys and nursing mothers) are just great. Their acts of violence (killing enemies during a time of war when those enemies were given more than a month to make ammends, and even then during the battle affording mercy if the enemies would change their ways) are evil. Why? Because they are Muslims and we are Christians. So why bring up Sura 9 at all? Why talk about it like it's somehow wicked?

    Because you know that killing people for disagreeing with a religious view is itself wicked. You can see this when you look at the Muslim world. Your intuitions are good. You are right to think as you do. The problem is when your same critical eye turns from other religions and looks at your own, suddenly the blinders are on. Suddenly you don't see that Num 31 and I Sam 15 portray wickedness.

    2.Since, however, you admit that both sides were evil and deserving of judgment, suppose we split the difference and recommend the blanket destruction of both sides?

    That's splitting the difference? Just be totally evil and kill everyone? Why don't we "split the difference" and just follow the example of the Koran and be merciful?

    1.If you think that Islam is more merciful than Judaism, then why don’t you put your theory to the test by living in Jerusalem for a year, and then living in Pakistan or Iran or Saudi Arabia for a year.

    And out come the fallacies. Change the subject as soon as possible. The facts remain. Sura 9 portrays a God that is far more merciful than Numbers 31 and I Sam 15. This fact you must ignore. Which is fine. You have little choice.

    But with regards to your red herring, let me say a couple of things. In the modern day it is true that Christians are more tolerant than Muslims. But this is a historical anamoly. Historically Jersualem has fared far better under Muslim control than under Christian control. When Muslims took control of Jersualem everyone remained free to worship as they pleased. Christians and Jews. A crazy Sultan from Egypt did burn down the Church of the Nativity, but his successor tried to make ammends with the Christians and rebuilt it. This was not good enough for the Crusaders. When they came through and took power they killed everyone. Not just Muslims, but Jews and even Orthodox Christians. When the Christians were kicked out by Salidan he again allowed the Christians to remain in peace and worship as they pleased. Mohammed did the same when he returned to Mecca. The Muslim world historically was far more advanced than the Western Christian world. Far more prosperous. Far more intellectual. Better. Perhaps the merciful example set in the Koran was an advantage.

    Here’s a novel idea which, I can see, has never occurred to you: if you want to prove the intellectual superiority of atheism over Christian theism, why don’t you demonstrate a modicum of intellectual effort by actually engaging our arguments? Are you capable of doing that?

    Here's a novel idea for you. Read your opponents and understand them before critiquing them. I am not an atheist.

    Jon, do you believe in moral absolutes? If so, explain your secular justification.

    It could be that they flow from the nature of God.

    But if, to the contrary, you’re a moral relativist, then there goes the argument from evil.

    I'm not a relativist.

    You and Dawkins and Loftus et al. seem to think that you can constantly shirk your own burden of proofs, as if we’ll give you a pass.

    How long does it take you to figure out that we won’t give you a pass? Are you slow learners? Or are you shooting blanks?


    How long does it take you to figure out the views of your opponents?

    But again, this is just more efforts at fallacy making on your part. Isn't it a fact that the Sura 9 portrays a God that is more merciful than the God of I Sam 15 and Num 31.

    ReplyDelete
  6. hostus twinkius1/24/2007 12:34 PM

    I don't know Jon, you sure sound like an atheist, relativist to me. If not, which God do you worship? Where do you get your moral absolutes from? Are you a Muslim? Sounds like you have imbibed the typical Islamic propoganda about the above mentioned historical topics. BTW, the Crusades were a RCatholic movement, not a Christian one. It amazes me how this distinction is never made by those screaming "hypocrisy!". I'm sure it won't be the last time I hear it...

    ReplyDelete
  7. JON CURRY SAID:

    “That's really the bottom line. Patrick, your problem is not violence.”

    Notice how Jon is changing the subject. The original allegation is that Patrick’s position was inconsistent.

    But when it’s shown to be consistent, Jon alters his objection without acknowledging that, by so doing, he must withdraw his original objection. So now he’s raising a new objection which cancels out his old objection.

    “Your problem is you don't like it when people who follow other gods do exactly what the Bible does in the name of YHWH.”

    I can’t speak for Patrick, but there’s a basic difference between following *other* gods and following *false* gods.

    And then there’s the related problem of idolaters (e.g. Muslims, Baal-worshipers) who will not permit the followers of the true faith to practice their faith, or even to live.

    They refuse to live in people with the followers of the true God (OT Jews, Messianic Jews, Gentile Christians).

    So we’re talking about a defensive war, not an offensive war.

    “Because you know that killing people for disagreeing with a religious view is itself wicked.”

    Once again, I can’t speak for Patrick, but speaking for myself:

    1.This oversimplifies the issue. Jon tries to caricature the opposing issue. But, of course, his way of framing the issue is tendentious.

    2.God always has the right to execute sinners.

    3.But there needs to be divine authorization to exact capital punishment.

    “But with regards to your red herring, let me say a couple of things. In the modern day it is true that Christians are more tolerant than Muslims. But this is a historical anamoly. Historically Jersualem has fared far better under Muslim control than under Christian control. When Muslims took control of Jersualem everyone remained free to worship as they pleased. Christians and Jews. A crazy Sultan from Egypt did burn down the Church of the Nativity, but his successor tried to make ammends with the Christians and rebuilt it. This was not good enough for the Crusaders. When they came through and took power they killed everyone. Not just Muslims, but Jews and even Orthodox Christians. When the Christians were kicked out by Salidan he again allowed the Christians to remain in peace and worship as they pleased. Mohammed did the same when he returned to Mecca. The Muslim world historically was far more advanced than the Western Christian world. Far more prosperous. Far more intellectual. Better. Perhaps the merciful example set in the Koran was an advantage.”

    1. Jon buys into Muslim propaganda. For a corrective:

    http://www.dhimmitude.org/d_history.php

    http://www.dhimmitude.org/d_today.php

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4857

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm

    2.Islamic civilization jump-started the process by conquering more advanced, preexisting civilizations.

    3.To say that Islam was more “intellectual” disregards its own version of the fundamentalist/modernist controversies, viz. Asharites v. Mutazilites.

    Again, Jon doesn’t know much history.

    “I am not an atheist.”

    You’re an apostate unbeliever. If you don’t believe in the true God, then, biblically speaking, you’re a functional atheist. Doesn’t matter who or what else you believe in. Belief in a false god is just another brand of atheism.

    “It could be that they flow from the nature of God.”

    What “God” do you believe in?

    “I'm not a relativist.”

    So where’s your argument?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jon-That's really the bottom line. Patrick, your problem is not violence.

    Steve-Notice how Jon is changing the subject. The original allegation is that Patrick’s position was inconsistent.


    How is that changing the subject? I'm saying that his whole point of raising Sura 9 as if it is a problem is non-sensical. He talks about the violent nature of it as if it is a problem. But how can that be when his Bible portrays a God that is far more violent and less merciful? He must abandon this position and flee to your explanation. Violence isn't the issue. The issue is, they are Muslim and we are Christian. So it's wrong to be violent and Muslim, but OK to be violent and Chistian. So really, it's just wrong to be Muslim. Violence is not the issue. Patrick must withdraw his complaint about Sura 9 (if he wants to adopt your explanation).

    So now he’s raising a new objection which cancels out his old objection.

    It doesn't cancel it. I'm telling Patrick to face the issue. He is at the horns of a dilemma. He either admits his inconsistency or he withdraws his objection to Sura 9 and withdraws this whole post.

    I can’t speak for Patrick, but there’s a basic difference between following *other* gods and following *false* gods.

    So there are other gods besides YHWH that are not false gods?

    1. Jon buys into Muslim propaganda. For a corrective:

    Did I say something about the history of Islam that is incorrect? Show me.

    You’re an apostate unbeliever. If you don’t believe in the true God, then, biblically speaking, you’re a functional atheist.

    So Muslims are also atheists. Mormons are atheists. Thomas Jefferson was an atheist. You are radically redefining the meaning of words to avoid admitting the mistake you made in calling me an atheist.

    Doesn’t matter who or what else you believe in. Belief in a false god is just another brand of atheism.

    That's just ridiculous. So anybody that believes in any god other than the one you decide represents "true" Christianity is an atheist? Can you point me to any respectable reference guide that would define atheism in this way?

    What “God” do you believe in?

    The God I believe in is the uncaused caused of the created world. He's the source of the moral law and designer of the universe. I think. I could be wrong about that, but that's my current view.

    So where’s your argument?

    You will find my argument in the writings of Greg Koukl, Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and C.S. Lewis. Start with Mere Christianity. Try Koukl's book Relativism.

    ReplyDelete
  9. JON CURRY SAID:

    "How is that changing the subject? I'm saying that his whole point of raising Sura 9 as if it is a problem is non-sensical. He talks about the violent nature of it as if it is a problem."

    You don't know what Patrick's point is since he never expressed himself on the subject. He simply quoted from Sura 9, and then quoted from Robert Spencer.

    "It doesn't cancel it. I'm telling Patrick to face the issue. He is at the horns of a dilemma. He either admits his inconsistency or he withdraws his objection to Sura 9 and withdraws this whole post."

    You haven't shown him to be inconsistent since you're imputing to him as rationale which he never stated.

    "So there are other gods besides YHWH that are not false gods?"

    Sorry you can't follow your own argument. "Other gods" was your term, not mine. I'm merely quoting you.

    "That's just ridiculous. So anybody that believes in any god other than the one you decide represents 'true' Christianity is an atheist? Can you point me to any respectable reference guide that would define atheism in this way?"

    Try the Bible.

    "The God I believe in is the uncaused caused of the created world. He's the source of the moral law and designer of the universe. I think. I could be wrong about that, but that's my current view."

    And how does that cohere with your brother's Bayesian attack on Christian theism?

    "You will find my argument in the writings of Greg Koukl, Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and C.S. Lewis. Start with Mere Christianity. Try Koukl's book Relativism."

    These men are Christians. You are not. So how do you isolate their arguments from your repudiation of the Christian faith?

    ReplyDelete
  10. And how does that cohere with your brother's Bayesian attack on Christian theism?

    My brother's Bayesian attack on Christianity is an evaluation for the rationalle for inerrancy and the resurrection. It is not an attack on the existence of a God.

    These men are Christians. You are not. So how do you isolate their arguments from your repudiation of the Christian faith?

    Haven't you read Mere Christianity? Lewis establishes a non-reletavistic moral law without invoking the resurrection or inerrancy. The argument is independent of any claim of resurrection.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jon: How is that changing the subject? I'm saying that his whole point of raising Sura 9 as if it is a problem is non-sensical. He talks about the violent nature of it as if it is a problem.

    Steve: You don't know what Patrick's point is since he never expressed himself on the subject. He simply quoted from Sura 9, and then quoted from Robert Spencer.

    Jon: It doesn't cancel it. I'm telling Patrick to face the issue. He is at the horns of a dilemma. He either admits his inconsistency or he withdraws his objection to Sura 9 and withdraws this whole post.

    Steve: You haven't shown him to be inconsistent since you're imputing to him as rationale which he never stated.


    It's true I've never expressed my own opinion on the issue. As Steve points out, I've simply quoted Sura 9 and then Spencer's remarks. (As well as pointed Jon to an explanation of 1 Sam 15 from Steve.)

    Given this, I wonder if Jon intends to withdraw his false allegation against me that I'm being inconsistent?

    Or is he somehow able to discern my motive(s) -- if any -- for quoting Sura 9 and Spencer?

    Of course, I somehow doubt Jon will withdraw even a word of what he said. Not because he isn't wrong, but because Jon is seldom honest -- at least based on his past interactions with others I've read. I hope I'm mistaken, but... well... it ain't like I'm a holdin' ma breath either.

    ReplyDelete
  12. As for my own opinion, I'll have to save that for a future post.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm dishonest? Steve has redefined the meaning of the word "atheist" so as to call Mormons, Deists, and JW's atheist simply so he can avoid admitting an error. I admit errors when I commit them. Why do you say I'm dishonest?

    My claim is that you are either inconsistent or this post is pointless. I don't expect you would have posted it if you thought it was pointless, so it must be that you are inconsistent. I'll withdraw the charge if you can explain the point of this post and show that the point does not reveal a double standard.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Questions for Steve:

    Jon-Can you point me to any respectable reference guide that would define atheism in this way?"

    Steve-Try the Bible.


    Would you explain how it is that the Bible, written in Greek and Hebrew, can serve as a reference guide for the definition of the English word "atheist"?

    Also, would you show me where that definition is located?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jon Curry said:

    "I admit errors when I commit them."

    Thanks gratifying to hear. You can begin by recanting your repudiation of the Christian faith.

    "My claim is that you are either inconsistent or this post is pointless. I don't expect you would have posted it if you thought it was pointless, so it must be that you are inconsistent. I'll withdraw the charge if you can explain the point of this post and show that the point does not reveal a double standard."

    Now Jon is throwing a temper tantrum. The question at issue is not whether Patrick had a reason for posting what he did. Rather, Patrick never gave his reason. And Jon imputed a reason to Patrick in order to generate his contradiction.

    "Would you explain how it is that the Bible, written in Greek and Hebrew, can serve as a reference guide for the definition of the English word 'atheist'? Also, would you show me where that definition is located?"

    Poor Jon doesn't know the difference between words and concepts.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jon Curry said:

    "Haven't you read Mere Christianity? Lewis establishes a non-reletavistic moral law without invoking the resurrection or inerrancy. The argument is independent of any claim of resurrection."

    Several equivocations here:

    1. Mere Christianity is a defense of Christian theism, not deism.

    2. Belief in the Resurrection is a sine qua non of Christian identity. Lewis believed in the Resurrection.

    3. Lewis is not the only author you cited.

    4. Lewis is mounting an argument from natural law moral theology.

    At an epistemic level he doesn't believe that this requires an appeal to special revelation. General revelation will do.

    From this it doesn't follow, at an ontological level, that he thought one could ground the moral law is something less than Christian theism.

    And if he did, he was wrong.

    5. No one cares about your do-it-yourself, scissors-and-paste theology. No one cares about your papier-mâché godlet. No one cares about your decaffeinated, god-lite deity.

    No one cares about the made-to-order god that you and your brother have pieced together from left over parts.

    This is of no interest to either the Christian or the atheist. It’s simply a work over your own hands, like the dumb, mute idol of the woodcutter.

    ReplyDelete
  17. No one cares about your do-it-yourself, scissors-and-paste theology. No one cares about your papier-mâché godlet. No one cares about your decaffeinated, god-lite deity.

    You are the one that asked.

    ReplyDelete