A Koranic smackdown

Carmen takes on those who keep telling her that she can't-as a muslim woman-marry her christian boyfriend to school, Koranic school that is, and delivers a beautiful smackdown on all of their asses. It was soo nicely done I almost felt bad for the idiots who provoked her! Almost!

I ♥ Carmen! 

0 comment on A Koranic smackdown

  1. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Yeah, she’s good :)

    Reply
  2. fadfadation
    January 31, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Since the post you refered to has blocked anyone from responding to what she wrote…

    I will add it here (sorry mate):

    In my answer below, i am talking to her of course.
    ——————

    Talking about the proof from Quran or Suna that men can marry non-muslims yet women can not…

    I will use some of the comments you wrote (I’ll put them in BOLD) and then comment…

    “You throw verses at me as if I were an ignorant cow and offer opinions that have absolutely no basis in the Quran.”

    Of course the people doing that with you are wrong. We should respect each other even if we have total opposite views.
    I am with you on that.

    Talking of:
    (“It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim from any other religion, whether from among the Jews or Christians…”) because there’s nothing to back that claim up.”

    I guess what they are talking about is the verse which you mentioned

    “The Quran says that NO MUSLIM, man or woman, is allowed to marry a mushrik (2:221) nor a kafir (60:10-11). NO MUSLIM. Period. End of discussion.”

    As mentioned here:
    َلا تَنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَّ وَلأَمَةٌ مُؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ وَلا تُنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنُوا وَلَعَبْدٌ مُؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ أُولَئِكَ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

    AL Bakara 2:21

    If we just agree that Ahl Kitab are not mushrekeen (at least not all of them tab3an, like not all Muslims are mo2meneen), as you said here:

    “No where in the Quran are Jews or Christians referred to as kufar. A kafir is a “rejecter of the truth”, a person who is convinced of Islam in his/her heart but for some reason or another rejects it.”

    Ok, fine. I’m with you.

    So, we agree that Muslims can not marry Mushrekeen (Kufar..etc).
    Then, where is the verse that says we can marry from muslims??
    Then comes this verse which is obvious…

    الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ

    Al Ma2eda 5:5

    So, very clearly God is saying “Muslim MEN can marry Ahl Kitab Women””.
    Yet, there is no other place in Quran that says:” Women AND men can marry”… if there is, please mention that verse.

    Ok, done with that part.

    Now, on other things…
    I totally agree with you in the part you said

    “Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve”. (2:62)

    Not all who call themselves Muslims will enter heaven. Not all who do not call themselves Muslim will be condemned to hell. Look at 22:17…

    Yet, once again I disagree with you about the part:
    “Neither the Quran nor the Sunnah explicitely forbid interfaith marriage for Muslim women. YOU are forbidding interfaith marriage.”

    Simpley beucase there is a verse that allows men to marry non-muslims (jews or chirstians) and not women to marry non-muslims (as I mentioned in the vesre before). So you were wrong on this one…

    Quran as we both agree tells us what is forbidden and what is allowed.
    So, here we have Quran in the verse saying…Men can marry non-muslims (and never said that women can marry non-muslims).

    Don’t you think that if God would have wanted to allow muslim women to marry non-muslims, God (being who HE is) would have added that both men and women can marry non-Muslims??!!

    God is not ONE to forget… 7asha lelAh! As we both of course agree tab3an.

    You might say: “Hey, wait a minute, not because HE didn’t mention it in Quran means it’s forbeddin!”. If you say that then you are wrong for two reasons…

    One is that God is not ONE to forget… 7asha lelAh! He would be very clear about such commandments.

    The second proof is a Suna one…
    Who is our Idol, the one who we took our religion from?
    Prophet mohammed tab3an. Excellent!

    Before he passed away (PBUH), he said in his Hajj (Hajj before he passed away):
    As mentioned in Sorat Al Maaeda (verse 3):
    }الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلامَ دِينًا {

    At this point the line was drawn and the revelation was complete and the guide for us in this life (Islam as a Shareea) was completed. Note, completed as in there is nothing missing! Marriage of course is one of the things tab3an!

    So, please answer one of the following questions…
    Did the prophet allow any muslim woman marry any non-muslims (although there were many jews in Madinah for instance)?
    Did anyone from his followers (whom were taught by him about everything) during his life or even after his death (PBUH) allow such a thing?
    Did any muslim woman specifically from his followers during his life or even after his death (PBUH) marry a non-muslim?

    The answer is no to all of them!
    And I am sure neither you nor I have better knowledge of the applications of Islam than the Prophet and his followers, wala eh?????

    At the end of the day, you have all the right to marry who you want (non-muslim). But if you will, don’t do it in the name of Islam.
    Because you don’t have one proof from Quran or Suna that it is permissible that a Muslim woman can marry a non-muslim (yet, your conunterpart has proof).

    Oh and before I end this…

    As for the part you said:
    “While a lot of you anons like to say that believing in the trinity makes one a mushrik, none of the Christians I know actually ascribe partners to God. And if you talked to any Christian and tried to explain to him/her that they are ascribing partners to God, they’d laugh in your face.“

    They might laugh and say we don’t believe that God has a partner. That’s good of course that they believe that HE has no partners.

    But, they can not laugh about not saying Jesus is God (as we all know, for Christians Jesus is God). As muslims we don’t believe that. And God said in the is verse…

    لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ

    Al ma2eda 5:72

    Yet, we (as you mentioned at the end of your post) are not to judge people. We are not to say who is Kafir and who is not. God will do that. I totally agree with you.

    Good luck and God bless us all to follow the right track.

    Reply
  3. leo
    January 31, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    According to information I have:
    1. Mohammed was illiterate man.
    2. Quaran was written by his followers from his words.
    3. There were multiple versions of Quaran.
    4. One powerful Muslim ruler (I forgot his name) decided to make only one version of it to avoid future confusion.
    He got all different versions, picked most popular one and destroyed the rest.
    Of cause he used contemporary Muslim scholars to help him make a decision.

    Assuming my information is correct here are few questions I have:
    1. Did Mohammed interpret word of God correctly? I am willing to accept that because he was elected by Infallible One.
    2. Did Mohammed’s scribes get everything right? What about different versions, which used to exist?
    3. How big of a difference was there between versions?
    4. Is it possible they could be interpreted in completely different way?
    5. Was the surviving version the right one?

    Reply
  4. Olive Picker
    January 31, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    This Smackdown reminds me of Rick James.

    “What did the hand say to the face?”
    “SLAP!”

    Reply
  5. Tom Katt
    January 31, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    “So now please leave me alone unless you’ve been given some clear directive from God to change His word.”

    It seems to me half the problem with many religions is people are claiming they recived such clear directives…

    Reply
  6. dick
    January 31, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Much as I like carmen, I think she’s making a mistake here.

    Is the issue really what the fine print in the koran says is halal or haram? Isn’t it more about what she knows in her own heart to be right and true?

    Because she surely doesn’t have to justify herself to all those whacky anons. And because we’d all be better off if they learned to develop some humanistic moral judgement, rather than attempting to follow the instructions in a manual written in another age and another place.

    Reply
  7. Avidbuff
    January 31, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    I’m having difficulty following Carmen’s post. I think visual aids would greatly increase my ability to grasp her intent.

    … just saying.

    Reply
  8. Melissa in NorCal
    January 31, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    The rule was put in place so that there would be more Muslims, period. It has nothing to do with faith, just breeding. If men marry women from different backgrounds, but the children must be Muslim, you have more Muslims. If a Muslim woman married a non-Muslim, the children might become non-Muslim like the father and that is unacceptable and the goal is to make more Muslims. That is why polygamy is allowed as well. It’s that simple.

    Reply
  9. Oliderid
    January 31, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    God is merciful. Whatever your sin may be if you truly ask forgivness you will get it.

    So why should you follow his scripture when clearly you can ask his forgivness on the very last second of the last minute of your life?

    Conclusion:
    Train yourself to say in the most sincere way : “Please forgive me my God.” At lease one time per day. And enjoy life the rest of the day.

    Reply
  10. Olive Picker
    January 31, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Dunno Oliderid, I find taking moral decisions regardless on whether God exists or not or what the religious context of one’s upbringing was to be more sincere towards God. Acting in a particular way because Giod is Above (or His followers are down here) and watching is like driving sober and wearing a seatbelt because there are traffic wardens along the way. What does this imply, that if there were no traffic wardens one would drive drunk and without a seat belt?

    Reply
  11. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    fadfadation,

    So, very clearly God is saying “Muslim MEN can marry Ahl Kitab Women””.
    Yet, there is no other place in Quran that says:” Women AND men can marry”… if there is, please mention that verse.

    She covered that part. Maybe you should read her post again? This is that verse in English:

    005.005
    YUSUFALI: This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).

    It doesn’t say women CAN’T – and what is not prohibited, is permitted. Carmen provided that verse as well.

    Reply
  12. last-bastion
    January 31, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Is the issue really what the fine print in the koran says is halal or haram? Isn’t it more about what she knows in her own heart to be right and true?
    Dick

    I quite agree, she needn’t justify herself to anyone.

    Reply
  13. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    by the way,

    Simpley beucase there is a verse that allows men to marry non-muslims (jews or chirstians) and not women to marry non-muslims (as I mentioned in the vesre before). So you were wrong on this one…

    Actually there is such a verse, permitting Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. It’s right here:

    >i>002.221
    YUSUFALI: Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.

    I just checked and there are 18 verses in the Quran that relate to Marriage. Only one of them mentions the rules for Muslim women to marry. This one I just quoted. And in that one, the rule for women is the same as for men. So, If you believe there is something in the Quran that prohibits Muslim women from marrying Christians or Jews, you are mistaken.

    Reply
  14. Valerie
    January 31, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Of course Carmen has to justify herself. She writes a scholarly tour de force giving the religious justification for her position, and some numb-nuts follows her here to argue about it (badly).

    The harrassment does not end just because you’re right. That’s why ladies need to be able to defend themselves.

    Reply
  15. Gadfly
    January 31, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I think I’m in love with Carmen.

    Reply
  16. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    I just want to say that, I am not an Islamic scholar, but I do know that historically there absolutely has been a double standard for Muslim women marrying nonMuslim men. It’s quite simple. Under Islam, the religion is determined by who the father is. Thus, if a Muslim man marries a nonMuslim, the kids are still Muslim. Not so if a Muslim woman marries a nonMuslim.

    This explains the verse in the Koran that says Muslim men can marry nonMuslim women, and the lack of a corresponding verse for women. I am a lawyer, and under statutory rules of interpretation, such an ommission is generally seen as strong proof of intent. I view this as really rather explicit in the Islamic dictate against Muslim women marrying outside their faith. Nothing Carmen said contradicted this central point.

    I want to be clear: I am not saying that Carmen should not marry her boyfriend because of religious reasons. Why would I? I am not Muslim, I do not believe in Islam, and I do not believe such arbitrary rules should dictate someone’s life. She should do what she wants, and I 100% support that. However, I did not find her arguments from the Koran to be really persuasive. In short, if Carmen has decided that the Koran will dictate how she lives her life, then she is picking and choosing how she interprets the document in order to marry her boyfriend.

    This is one of the problems with having to justify modern actions with a religious document that simply cannot change with the times. My hope is that the fiqh should be opened up, and imams will be proclaiming which sura are applicable to the modern day, and which are not. But until that happens, I frankly am not persuaded by Carmen’s proclamation that she is acting in concert with mainstream Islam or even within the common interpretation of the Koran.

    Carmen, I think you are a wonderful person, and I say you should not have to justify your actions according to the Koran. You should be who you want to be, do what you want to do, and live your life to the fullest.

    I want this to say this again: I am in no way criticizing Carmen’s decisions here: I simply disagree with her interpretation of the Koran.

    Reply
  17. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Red Tulips,

    I am a lawyer, and under statutory rules of interpretation, such an ommission is generally seen as strong proof of intent.

    So, all the rules about who Muslim men can NOT marry, do not apply to Muslim women? If omission is proof of intent, then the fact that Muslim women are not prohibited from marrying in-laws, pagan slaves, etc… means that they are permitted to? Because most of the prohibitions on marriage apply explicitly to men, and women are not mentioned at all.

    I disagree with you on this. It would have been quite easy to include women as well as men, and to clarify which rules apply to who, in all the verses about marriage. I think the omissions were simply because women’s marriage rights were not considered very important at that time. Even in the verse that DOES mention women, it does not mention how women should chose… it mentions how father’s should chose, for their daughters.

    I’m going to look into that idea that religion is passed to the children by the father. I’ve heard that a lot but never actually seen it quoted from the Quran.

    Reply
  18. Melissa in NorCal
    January 31, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I’m going to look into that idea that religion is passed to the children by the father. I’ve heard that a lot but never actually seen it quoted from the Quran.

    The way I’ve heare it justified, is that, the children of a mixed-marriage will take the better faith, which of course, is always Islam. I can’t find the Quranic reference for this. It is what I’ve heard.

    Reply
  19. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Craig,

    There is a line in the Koran which clearly is against all intermarriage, that Carmen cited. Later in the Koran, there is a verse that says this does not apply to men.

    The logic of this is very easy to follow.

    As far as how Islam is passed on, it is very widely known it is passed on via the father. This goes a long way towards explaining the notion against women marrying out of the religion.

    Reply
  20. naomi
    January 31, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    God wants you to be with somebody you really love. God is love. So go with what you know God to be now, or behave in accordance with what a bunch of crusty dead politically inspired retrogrades wrote “in the name of God” thousands of years ago. Marriage is a heck of a lot more work than sex but it IS pretty good when you’re doing it with someone with whom YOU fell in love. My man and I are different faiths…but we don’t “sell” religion for a living so it doesn’t really affect our lives. We enjoy both faiths (ie, celebrate everything). It’s kind of fun actually.

    Reply
  21. BrooklynJon
    January 31, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    So, if Islam is passed through the father, and Judaism through the mother, what are the progeny of a Muslim woman and a Jewish man? Shinto?

    Reply
  22. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Naomi,

    I am sorry, but you did not write a convincing argument that says that the Koran okays Carmen marrying a nonMuslim. Rather, you echoed what Carmen said.

    “God can’t possibly favor men that much, as to only allow men to marry outside their faith, and not women.”

    This is the gist of Carmen’s argument.

    But frankly, that ignores the direct text of the Koran.

    Let me go out on a limb and say God, assuming it exists, shouldn’t favor men over women. I will agree with that statement. But the Koran, as it is written, absolutely does favor men over women, and this is only but one example of this. Of course, the Koran is not alone in favoring men over women. I would argue that the Bible similarly suffers from this problem.

    And so if one wants to follow what one sees as the spirit of the text, rather than the letter, one can feel free to contextualize what is written, and say “this only applied to the 7th century, but no longer applies today, and XYZABC is needed for a 21st century application of the 7th century laws.” I would argue that this sort of thinking is desperately needed in Islam, because texts like what Carmen cited absolutely are clear on their face, and the only method of rectifying such texts with modern notions of equality and modernity is to follow the spirit, rather than the letter of the law. Yet far too many reformers of Islam are fooling themselves when they say that the exact letter of the law is itself “liberal” or in any way compatible with modernity. I simply do not believe this to be the case, and these reformers are mostly fooling themselves, when they attempt to “reform” the faith without applying the method of reformation that I laid out.

    Judaism was reformed. Only the most insane Haredi Jews attempt to follow the exact letter of the Chalaka. Modern Reform and Conservative Judaism sprung about from the notion of applying biblical principals, rather than exact law, to modern law. Even most modern Orthodox Jewry absolutely do not live their lives in the exact code of the bible. The same can be said for the vast majority of Christians in the world.

    The path to reforming Islam, or proving Islam is a peaceful religion, is not through a strict interpretation of the Koran, or proving that Islam is egalitarian by citing the Koran. The only path to reformation is applying the spirit, not the letter, of Koranic law to modern life.

    The sooner this is recognized, the better.

    Reply
  23. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    BrooklynJon:

    Such a person would not be considered Jewish or Muslim. They would have to formerly convert to either Judaism or Islam to be considered either religion, if they wanted to be either under traditional Jewish or Muslim law. I know of someone who is the child of a Jewish dad and Christian mom. He is not considered Jewish or Christian under traditional Jewish and Christian law, though he does consider himself Jewish.

    Reply
  24. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Red Tulips,

    There is a line in the Koran which clearly is against all intermarriage, that Carmen cited. Later in the Koran, there is a verse that says this does not apply to men.

    No there isn’t. I just read all 18 verses in the Quran that discuss marriage. There is no such rule. Perhaps you misunderstood what Carmen said? Christians and Jews are not considered “unbelievers” in Islam. Maybe that’s what is confusing you?

    The logic of this is very easy to follow.

    I’m a pretty logical person. And I’m not following it :)

    As far as how Islam is passed on, it is very widely known it is passed on via the father.

    There are a lot of things that are considered “widely known” about Islam, that aren’t actually present in the Quran. I haven’t checked on this, myself. So, I don’t know for sure. Can you provide the reference?

    This goes a long way towards explaining the notion against women marrying out of the religion.

    Yes, it certainly does. But is it coming from Islam or is it coming from a Patriarchical society, where men feel that they should be able to do whatever they want, but women have to do as they are told? There could have been a complete prohibition against interfaith marriages for both sexes, as there are in other religions. It doesn’t really seem *logical* that an exemption was made for men, but not for women. Especially since that exemption isn’t spelled out in the Quran. The only verse on marriage that even mentions Muslim women at all seems to be saying that Muslim women CAN marry Christians and Jews, same as men. I provided that verse in English in an earlier comment.

    Reply
  25. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Red Tulips,

    He is not considered Jewish or Christian under traditional Jewish and Christian law, though he does consider himself Jewish.

    Christianity is not hereditary. It’s a choice. It cannot be hereditary, and it cannot be involuntary. Most Christians baptize their children Christian, and then the Children (when they are old enough) are symbolically baptized a second time, to indicate they have chosen Christianity of their own free will.

    I would have thought Islam was much the same. The concept of there being “no compulsion in religion” is the same. The idea that it’s supposed to be a choice, is the same. But if children are born Muslim, and to leave Islam is punished by death – where is the choice? Where is the “no compulsion in religion” concept?

    Reply
  26. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Craig,

    The words of Carmen:

    The Quran says that NO MUSLIM, man or woman, is allowed to marry a mushrik (2:221) nor a kafir (60:10-11). NO MUSLIM. Period. End of discussion.

    Fine, simple enough. Then Carmen goes on…

    What most of you anons are telling me here, then, is that God, by allowing Muslim men to marry ahl al kitab (People of the Book) women (5:5), abrogated 2:221 and 60:10-11 JUST for men and allowed them to marry a mushrik or a kafir. You really think that God favors men THAT much to give them that kind of license? “Sure guys, go ahead and marry a mushrik. They’re not as bad as you think they are..ignore the basic spiritual message I’m trying to convey to you. You’re exempt because you’re men”. It doesn’t sound like something the God I know would do.

    So Carmen’s argument is basically “The clear interpretation cannot be what it says, because then the Koran would be anti-woman, and it cannot be anti-woman, because it is the direct word of God.” What if the problem is that people refer to the Koran as the direct word of God, rather than as a philosophy and general (not specific) framework with which to lead their lives?

    As far as the notion that Islam has “no compulsion in religion,” that is readily dispensed with when looking at the views on apostacy. The notion of “no compulsion in religion” is not referring to children of Muslim parents, or those who are already Muslim. Rather, I believe it is meant to refer to nonMuslims (the dhimmis), and basically allowing them to remain nonMuslim, without the force of conversion at the sword. But I could be wrong, I am not an Islamic scholar, and frankly, it is hard to make sense of religious texts that conflict with one another.

    As far as the text that says the religion of the father determines the religion of the child – I searched the Koran and did not find anything that explicitly says it, but I do know this to be modern Islamic practice. I also did find the following, which could be interpreted as justification for this practice:

    [25.54] And He it is Who has created man from the water, then He has made for him blood relationship and marriage relationship, and your Lord is powerful.

    -Red Tulips

    Reply
  27. Craig
    January 31, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Red Tulips,

    The Quran says that NO MUSLIM, man or woman, is allowed to marry a mushrik (2:221) nor a kafir (60:10-11). NO MUSLIM. Period. End of discussion.

    Mushrik = polytheist.

    Kafir = somebody who has rejected Islam.

    Neither applies to Christians and Jews. Which Carmen was kind enough to qualify in her post :)

    So, this verse means absolutely nothing in regards to Jews and Christians. nothing at all. She offered that as a proof that the Quran does not consider Christians and Jews to be Kufar or mushrikin.

    See? I told you I had a logical mind :)

    Gotta go, I’ll be back to comment on the rest later!

    Reply
  28. Modern Pharaoh
    January 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    That Was Great! Too bad not all Muslims are educated like this! Being from Egypt i do know that Christians and muslims in the Upper or Middle Class get along just fine….all the problems are usually with the poor and uneducated and they are usually even family fueds.

    Reply
  29. Red Tulips
    January 31, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Craig:

    Okay, point noted about Kafirs. In popular parlance, it refers to simply nonMuslims, but I can see that interpretation of the word “Kafir.”

    Nonetheless, this does not answer why there would be a specific text allowing men to marry nonMuslim women, if it was not generally assumed otherwise that Muslims are forbidden from marrying nonMuslims.

    Moreover, in an Islamic society, all people, Jews, Christians, and Hindus, would have been exposed to Islam. It is a fact of life. They then would be “Kafirs” if they reject Islam after being exposed to it. And in any case, I am sure that Carmen’s boyfriend has by now been exposed to Islam, via Carmen, and decided not to convert. Hence, I believe he would be considered a “Kafir.”

    I want to stress that I am not criticizing Carmen for her choice, and I applaud her independence. I simply disagree with her Koranic interpretation.

    Reply
  30. BrooklynJon
    January 31, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Craig, Red Tulips,

    Very interesting. Judaism works differently than christianity for sure, and probably also Islam.

    If your mother’s Jewish, you’re Jewish. We regard ourselves more as a nation than as a religion, so just like you can’t choose not to be Swedish, you can’t choose not to be Jewish. OTOH, there is no particular compulsion to observe the religion (an obligation as far as G-d is concerned, maybe, but no compulsion as far as people are concerned). In fact, you can observe a different religion. So there are Jewish Christians (in fact the first Christians were all Jews), Jewish Muslims, a whole lot of Jewish Buddhists, a smattering of Jewish Hindus, etc.

    And, um, my comment about the kids being Shinto was a little tongue in cheek.

    Reply
  31. Jason
    February 1, 2007 at 12:29 am

    Carmen, if your listening, do what your heart says and fcuk the naysayers. The holy book of ANY religon, written by man, should always be looked at as a guide, not an instruction set. Man being so proven over the eons to be fallible.

    Reply
  32. naomi
    February 1, 2007 at 2:56 am

    God is love. Carmen should marry whom she pleases. It’s not up to us to tell her what to do! God made Carmen; He knows what’s in her heart and it is good. Ya’ll have a national religion (Muslim) so I do NOT really understand your mentality. We can go pick a new religion anytime if we get tired or disenfranchised with our current faith. For 200 years we’ve been able to do this legally. I guess my point is (#22) half the world doesn’t know what the Koran says …uh, cause we weren’t brought up with it. But we WERE brought up with God via the Bible or Torah. We encourage marrying for Love first, work out the pesky details with time. Since our religions aren’t compulsory, they tend to cater to the individual (new recruits) since we don’t imprison/kill folks for apostacy over here. I would guess you would want allow this freedom and possess this freedom where you live?

    Reply
  33. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 4:01 am

    I want to be clear: I think Carmen should do what she wants, but she has not forwarded any persuasive argument concerrning the Koran.

    I also dispute the notion of “God being love.” Naomi, frankly, this is your interpretation of God. Many people interpret God to mean many things. When I was in Israel, I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of luck at simply being alive, and being part of humanity. But the truth is, the world has its good and bad. There’s the yin and yang, good and evil. With love also comes hate. The world is not some pure place of joy – and so why would any God reflect pure love and joy, when the world does not reflect pure love and joy?

    Reply
  34. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 4:03 am

    Red Tulips,

    Okay, point noted about Kafirs. In popular parlance, it refers to simply nonMuslims, but I can see that interpretation of the word “Kafir.”

    No, that’s not really what it means. Muslims can also be Kafirs. A “kafir” is somebody who rejects God. Somebody who loses faith. I mis-spoke when I said “rejects Islam” – a Muslim who becomes an atheist or an agnostic is a kafir. As is a Christian or Jew who no longer believes in God.

    That’s my understanding of the meaning of the word, anyway.

    Nonetheless, this does not answer why there would be a specific text allowing men to marry nonMuslim women, if it was not generally assumed otherwise that Muslims are forbidden from marrying nonMuslims.

    I don’t understand this statement. I’ve read it 3 times and I still don’t understand why you think there must have been previously a prohibition on Muslims marrying Christians and Jews, before there can be an allowance for it. Can you clarify what it is you are trying to say?

    Moreover, in an Islamic society, all people, Jews, Christians, and Hindus, would have been exposed to Islam. It is a fact of life. They then would be “Kafirs” if they reject Islam after being exposed to it.

    No, that’s not the case. Muslims who refer to Christians and Jews as Kafirs or infidels are not respecting what is taught in the Quran. They are out there on their own. I don’t care what the percentage is who believe this way, they are wrong. The Quran is quite clear about Christianity and Judaism. Arch Angel Gabriel confirmed the validity of Judaism and Christianity in his first words to Mohamed, and that validity was never revoked, in the Quran.

    And in any case, I am sure that Carmen’s boyfriend has by now been exposed to Islam, via Carmen, and decided not to convert. Hence, I believe he would be considered a “Kafir.”

    Only by somebody who is ignorant. And yes, there are plenty of ignorant Muslims. I’ve been quite surprised by the number of Muslims who will admit under duress ( = debate) that they haven’t actually read the Quran in it’s entirety. I imagine it is the same for Christians with the Bible, though, so I can’t be too critical.

    I want to stress that I am not criticizing Carmen for her choice, and I applaud her independence. I simply disagree with her Koranic interpretation.

    I think she is completely correct. In fact, I know that she is. However, that doesn’t change the reality of what mainstream Muslim belief is.

    BrooklynJon, thanks for the clarification re: Judaism, I’ve been wondering about that for a while, because of Judaism’s unique (I think) status as a religion, a nation and an ethnicity all rolled into one :)

    I chickened out on doing research on whether or not the Quran actually does say that the children of Muslim men are on Muslim. Maybe I’ll be willing to do the leg work if it ever comes up in a blog post in the future :)

    Reply
  35. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Craig:

    I looked up what “kafir” means. It does not mean someone who has “rejected God.” It means someone who has rejected Islam. And thus, it is specifically referring to someone who was exposed to Islam, and rejected it. You are quite right that Muslims could be Kafirs. But by that logic, so could Christians and Jews. It does not necessarily refer to Christians and Jews, because not all Christians and Jews are exposed to Islam. However, from what I read, if Christians and Jews are explicitly exposed to the “truth” of Islam, and reject it, then they are Kafirs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    Given I would have to assume that Carmen’s boyfriend by now has been exposed to Islam, and he obviously chose not to convert, I think that would make him a “kafir.” Now, I do not hold the negative connotation of the word “kafir,” but I am just referring to it from the definition others hold for it.

    Finally, let me explain this statement:

    Nonetheless, this does not answer why there would be a specific text allowing men to marry nonMuslim women, if it was not generally assumed otherwise that Muslims are forbidden from marrying nonMuslims.

    If in fact there was never a question about Muslim men being allowed to marry nonMuslim women, then why would there be a need to specifically add the text in the Koran granting Muslim men the ability to marry nonMuslim women? In statutory interpretation, the rule is to generally interpret against superfluous phrasing. Here is an example. Suppose there is a statute that says men dogs are allowed to play frisbee in the park on Tuesdays, and can bring dogs. A statute that specifically singles out men (and dogs) to be allowed to play frisbee in the park on Tuesdays would be interpreted to mean that women cannot play frisbee in the park on Tuesday, since the statute was explicit in saying men (and dogs), and not women. Furthermore, such an explicit statute would also lead to the implication that there cannot be frisbee playing on Wednesdays.

    I hope this explains things. I think the text of the Koran is really quite clear here, given what I know about statutory interpretation, and the widely held definition of Kafir.

    Reply
  36. Roman Kalik
    February 1, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Regarding Judaism and reform, I regard Hassidism and to an extent conservative Judaism to be more of a reform than the Reformists. Chopping out some of the central aspects of the faith and making it look more like Christianity to be accepted in Christian society is *not* reform in my book.

    Reply
  37. LouLou
    February 1, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Red Tulip,

    “Given I would have to assume that Carmen’s boyfriend by now has been exposed to Islam, and he obviously chose not to convert, I think that would make him a “kafir.” Now, I do not hold the negative connotation of the word “kafir,” but I am just referring to it from the definition others hold for it.”

    If every Jew or Christian who is exposed to Islam but rejects it is a kafir then that means Muslim men can’t marry Jewish or Christian women. As soon as she is exposed to Islam – which she had to be in order to marry a Muslim – she instantly becomes a Kafir so he can’t marry her. And yet The Prophet himself had a Christian wife – and she is one of the (Omahat AlMoumineen) Mothers of The Faithful – as the Prophet’s wives are referred to. So does that mean the Prophet was married to a kafir?

    The literal Quran forbids both Muslim men and women from marrying kafirs/mushrikeen.

    No, there is a clear distinction between Ahlu-AlKitab(People of Scripture) and followers of other faiths(kafirs) in the Quran & in Islamic tradition and history.

    “In statutory interpretation, the rule is to generally interpret against superfluous phrasing.”

    The Quran itself states that whatever it doesn’t expressly forbid is permissible. Infact it prohibits us from trying to forbid what Allah Himself has not made unlawful to us. And the Quran does not forbid Muslim men or women from marrying Jews and Christians.

    Reply
  38. fadfadation
    February 1, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Craig,

    Red Tulipe said what i was trying to say…

    “There is a line in the Koran which clearly is against all intermarriage, that Carmen cited. Later in the Koran, there is a verse that says this does not apply to men.

    The logic of this is very easy to follow.”

    Reply
  39. fadfadation
    February 1, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Craig,

    When you said:
    “why there would be a specific text allowing men to marry nonMuslim women”

    I am not a scholar and will not assume i know all the reasons behind it, but for one… What Melissa said

    “The rule was put in place so that there would be more Muslims, period. It has nothing to do with faith, just breeding. If men marry women from different backgrounds, but the children must be Muslim, you have more Muslims. If a Muslim woman married a non-Muslim, the children might become non-Muslim like the father and that is unacceptable and the goal is to make more Muslims. That is why polygamy is allowed as well. It’s that simple. “

    Reply
  40. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    LouLou:

    If I understand the Koran (and understand Islam) correctly, it is pretty much saying that men can marry who they want, including kafirs, because the kids will be Muslim no matter what. However, if a Muslim woman marries a nonMuslim (or particularly a kafir), then the kids will not be Muslim. (and this is why it is disallowed) Why do I say that? Because if you define Kafir as one who rejects the truth of Islam, then it is clear that Muhammad himself married Kafirs.

    Basically, the logic as I see it is that it is borderline irrelevant what religion the woman is, because her religion is not imputed to the kids, anyway. (furthermore, women traditionally did not go to school, don’t exactly have equal rights, etc etc etc)

    Let us look at an example that Muslims use as proof of how much Muhammad really is a friend to Jews. Muhammad married a Jewish lady, Safiyah. He did not require that she convert. And this is given as some sort of evidence that Muhammad was a friend to Jews. And yet Safiyah was given the choice of “joining her people” (who were murdered en masse, and there were basically none left of them) or marriage to Muhammad. (also, her first husband was killed by Muhammad’s followers) Not exactly a great choice, or proof that Muhammad loved Jews. Safiyah never converted to Islam, and I believe, given that Muhammad’s followers killed her father, family, and first husband…she probably had expressly rejected Islam in her heart. Yet she was not considered a “kafir” because she was willing to marry Muhammad, and her kids were raised Muslim, not Jewish.

    What is the moral of the story? As far as I read the Koran, a female Muslim who marries a nonMuslim man is considered a “kafir” for rejecting the Muslim community and a Koranic commandment. A male Muslim who marries a nonMuslim woman is not considered a “kafir” because the woman he marries will simply become part of his family, the kids raised Muslim, and by marrying the man, is expressly accepting Islam in one way or another, in the same way Safiyah did. (and is hence not a Kafir)

    To sum it up: female nonMuslim = not kafir, because the opinions of females regarding religion are not relevant once they choose to marry a Muslim and accept that their children will be raised Muslim. Male nonMuslim = kafir, because the kids will not be raised Muslim, and he is not accepting the hegemony of Islam.

    The logic here is not hard to follow once one understands the tribal mentality. I believe Fadfadnation is advocating traditional Islam, and Carmen is advocating a reform of Islam. Which is fine. I think Islam does need to be reformed, and in particular, women should be treated equally with men. But then I think Carmen should be honest with herself and her readers, and say “I want to reform Islam,” rather than saying that her view represents the true and pure Islam. (which I frankly do not see evidence of)

    Again, I want to emphasize that I do not believe this “logic” to be right, good, or just. I am just reading the text as it clearly appears to be written. I absolutely think it is horrible that this is what the text appears to say, and think Carmen should do what she wants, but not fool herself into thinking that it’s somehow in line with the twisted logic of the Koran.

    As a side note, I have gay friends. None of them believe that homosexuality is somehow considered cool by a strict reading of the bible. Or, let me add that pretty much everyone I know is a “fornicator,” and has sex outside of marriage. No one I know is saying that “fornication” is somehow cool with the bible. Why is it that liberal Muslims somehow keep stretching the bounds of logic to prove their behavior is cool with the literal wording of the Koran, when it clearly is not? I cannot understand why this ideological battle is even being fought, when it is clear there will not be a victory for liberal/secular Muslims. Most Jews and Christians have given up on this battle, and yet Muslims, even secular/liberal ones, have not. I am at a loss as to why this is.

    Carmen, do what you want, lead your life as you want to lead it, and I suggest not worrying if what you do somehow conflicts with the Koran. Much of what you do will conflict with the Koran. So what? You are a good person, and that’s what matters.

    Reply
  41. LouLou
    February 1, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the long comment Red Tulips but frankly, it didn’t convince me that the Quran says anything other than what I can read it to say – which is that Muslims – men or women – cannot marry Kafirs but can marry Jews or Christians. We can marry anyone the Quran does not expressly say we can’t marry: like kafirs, close blood relatives, stepsons etc….

    The issue of homosexuality is different and I simply don’t see what it has to do with this discussion. The Quran is unequivocal about homosexuality being forbidden.

    “I cannot understand why this ideological battle is even being fought, when it is clear there will not be a victory for liberal/secular Muslims.”

    Carmen isn’t trying to fight an ideological battle. She was simply explaining why she doesn’t believe people who tell her the Quran says she can’t marry her boyfriend.

    I grew up in a Muslim family which doesn’t consider itself particularly liberal and yet we never believed Muslim women can’t marry Jews or Christians or that Jews and Christians are kafirs. Again, we didn’t feel we were in the middle of an ideological battle or anything like that. It was a simple case of the argument not making sense to us – anymore than it did to Carmen.

    Looks like YOU are trying to fight an ideological battle so you’re reading more into Carmen’s post than she ever meant it.

    Reply
  42. The Usual Suspect
    February 1, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Islam is supposed to be a progression of Judaism and Christianity, which is why Muslims believe in the prophets before Mohammed and their message of one God.
    Mushrikeen and Kufar are those who reject that message. Jews and Christians believe in one God therefore they cannot be considered mushrikeen.
    Therefore Muslims can marry Jews or Christians or (like my husband) people who do not ascribe to a particular religion because they have not been brought up in the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity or Islam but do believe in God and the message He has sent through the various prophets.
    At the end of the day, it matters who you are inside- not what you call yourself.

    Reply
  43. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    The Usual Suspect:

    Islam is not supposed to just be a progression from Judaism and Chrisitianity, it is supposed to be the true, undiluted, correct message. Jews and Christians, according to Islam, have perverted the message. And thus, I believe the Koran is clear in saying that a Jew or Christian does not convert when they learn about Islam and choose to accept it – they “revert.” In fact, I looked this up on “Islamonline,” and the “ask an imam” section said exactly that.

    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1123996015760&pagename=IslamOnline-English-AAbout_Islam/AskAboutIslamE/AskAboutIslamE

    Moreover, the catch phrase is “No God but Allah, and Muhammad as his prophet.” Thus, merely being “people of the book” does not mean a nonMuslim necessarily understands the “true message” and has not rejected the truth.

    Logically, if someone is not taught Islam from childhood, then they cannot possibly be a Kafir, as they have not heard the “truth” and then rejected it. Once Jews and Christians hear the correct message and then decide “no thanks,” they I do not read Islam as saying they should be sentenced (i.e., killed) for it, as the legal determination of who is a “kafir” in their heart is made at death, but I believe that Islam is saying they should be treated as a kafir, and despised as such.

    In any case, I went to “Islamonline” and looked up the issue of Muslims marrying outside their faith, and found this:

    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-AAbout_Islam/AskAboutIslamE/AskAboutIslamE&cid=1156077759395

    I want to emphasize the fact that I absolutely am not advocating any of these positions, and completely disagree with them. I merely believe that Carmen is incorrect with her characterization of Islam.

    Reply
  44. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Red Tulips,

    If I understand the Koran (and understand Islam) correctly, it is pretty much saying that men can marry who they want, including kafirs, because the kids will be Muslim no matter what.

    Well, you obviously don’t understand the Quran correctly! And no matter how many people point it out, you keep misunderstanding it…. so, what do you want anyone to say to you? :P

    Reply
  45. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Red Tulips,

    I want to emphasize the fact that I absolutely am not advocating any of these positions

    You absolutely ARE advocating a position, in this thread! And I for one, can not understand why. It seems like you are pushing the most ignorant possible interpretation of what is written in the Quran, to me.

    Reply
  46. Jason
    February 1, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    “f I understand the Koran (and understand Islam) correctly”

    Lifelong Islamic scholars seem to have different takes on that damned book.. So who’s to really say, eh?

    Reply
  47. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    Craig:

    I want to say the following: I am not saying that the interpretation of the Koran, as I read it, is right, fair, or just. I am not saying “Yay, this is what should be!” Far from it.

    I am simply saying that the clear meaning of the words in the Koran appear quite different from the meaning that Carmen attributes to it.

    Am I saying that people should follow this meaning? Absolutely not. Actually, the exact opposite. I am hoping for real reform in Islam. So you might wonder why I would spend time, writing what I am writing.

    I am saying this because I want to point out that Carmen is simply fooling herself if she thinks that she is acting in line with the clear meaning of the Koran. She will not fool a hardcore Muslim with her logic, as I believe her logic is easily contradicted by the text of the Koran, example of Muhammad, and history of Islam. However, Carmen’s way of thinking will fool a nonMuslim into thinking that Islam is actually an inherently peaceful religion that is being perverted by extremists. That will be the only end result of what Carmen wrote.

    Does Islam have to be violent or advocate these harsh sorts of positions? Absolutely not. But any sort of movement towards reforming Islam should require first an acknowledgement about what the Koran actually says, and why it says it. Only then can real reform take place, and be accepted by the wider Muslim community. Until then, if Carmen wants to marry a nonMuslim, I applaud her, and absolutely am not criticizing her choice. She should be aware, however, that no amount of logic will be able to combat the clear meaning of the text.

    The heart of Carmen’s basic point seems to be that a fair and a just God could not possibly be anti-woman. I am an atheist, and so I am not saying God is good OR bad. But I will say that Carmen’s words are inherently illogical. A good and just God would not allow genocide, famine, hate, and violence to occur as it does. A good and a just God would not bring about a tsunami that wiped out 150,000 people instantaneously. But an evil God would not allow humanity to even exist, wouldn’t allow beauty, sunshine, hope, and rainbows. The world is neither good nor evil, it just is. And so the heart of Carmen’s argument, that somehow a loving God cannot have meant the double standard, frankly, flies in the face of reality.

    Reply
  48. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Red Tulips.

    I am simply saying that the clear meaning of the words in the Koran appear quite different from the meaning that Carmen attributes to it.

    OK, at this point I feel compelled to ask you to provide quotes from the Quran to support your opinions. And state your own opinion of what the words mean, not an “accepted” interpretation.

    http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/004.qmt.html

    That’s a pretty good source there, if you don’t have one of your own.

    Reply
  49. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    By the way, I made the above request in regards to this:

    I am saying this because I want to point out that Carmen is simply fooling herself if she thinks that she is acting in line with the clear meaning of the Koran.

    I am not a Muslim. I am an American Christian. And when I read the Quran, I come to the same conclusion that Carmen does. And, as has been pointed out to you numerous times, your understanding of what kafir and mushrik mean are incorrect. And as far as I can tell, that is what you are basing your “clear meaning” on – an incorrect understanding of what words mean.

    As far as what God would or wouldn’t want (which I think is peripheral to this argument) – I personally think God wants us to be HAPPY. To learn, and to grow, spiritually, and to become better human beings. That’s what I see when I read the teachings of Jesus. That is the very core of his message. And I also do not believe in that small-minded and petty God that so many religious fundamentalists clutch to. I’m not trying to change your atheistic views, but please don’t bring them into the discussion. It makes it look like your real goal is just to discredit religion. Is that your real goal?

    PS – Have you ever called for Islam to be reformed? I’m just wondering…. because you argue as if that’s the last thing in the world that you would want to see… any reform in Islam.

    Reply
  50. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Craig:

    Why do you believe God hopes for humanity to be happy? Where do you see that? Where has history shown this to be the case? Where is it in the bible or the Koran that it is even stated “God created the world in order for mankind to be happy”?

    Oftentimes, people will say “God is loving, and so this unloving result is illogical.” To that I say “Please explain the litany of horrors that go on in the world.”

    Most recently, 150,000 people were wiped out in an instant, in Asia. Were these people somehow not pious enough? Were they deserving of their fate? Is that seriously the argument you are holding out?

    That is why I have to say that if God does exist, and certainly I have no proof one way or another as to the existence of God, (I am a negative atheist – “there is no proof God exists, so I do not believe in it”) then it is clear that the God that exists is neither loving nor unloving, vengeful nor kind. Why? Because the world as it exists is neither good nor bad, it just is. There is unfathomable beauty and ugliness in the world at the same time. And as far as human psychology goes, there is no beauty without ugliness. It is the contrast that enables humanity to appreciate what good is, versus evil.

    But anyway.

    I already cited chapter and verse of the Koran to explain the clear logic – namely, I looked at the chapter and verse that Carmen cited, and saw that the clear meaning of it was exactly the opposite of what she claimed it was.

    Can Islam be reformed? I have no idea. Maybe. I hope it can be reformed. But the only way Islam can be reformed is to determine a couple things. 1) Muslims desire a religion that allows for equality and justice; 2) Any competing chapter and verse of the Koran/Hadith/Sunnah must either be excised or followed in spirit, rather than the letter of the words.

    A literal following of the words of the Koran, I believe, is not compatible with a modern life as we know of it in the West. It is my belief that any attempts to prove it does will result in intellectual dishonesty. I am not pretending that somehow only Islam suffers from this problem. I do not believe that Christianity or Judaism, if taken literally, is compatible with a modern life. The difference is that very few within Christianity and Judaism attempt to prove that literal words of the bible are somehow compatible with a modern life, because all but the fundamentalists of Christianity and Judaism actually follow (or I should say, attempt to follow) the literal words of the bible.

    A movement in that direction is, I believe, the only hope that Islam has if it ever is to reform.

    Reply
  51. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    P.S.: Wikipedia on the “kafir:”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    The wiki article cites from the Koran where it speaks of Kafirs not just being those who disbelieve the oneness of God, but specifically…

    002.004

    “YUSUFALI: And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.
    PICKTHAL: And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter.
    SHAKIR: And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.”

    002.006
    YUSUFALI: As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe.
    PICKTHAL: As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not.
    SHAKIR: Surely those who disbelieve, it being alike to them whether you warn them, or do not warn them, will not believe.

    In short, a Kafir is not just someone who does not believe in the oneness of God. It is absolutely someone who was exposed to the “truth” of the “fact” that “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet, and then chose to reject the knowledge of this “truth.”

    The Koran, as you will read, goes on to say that it is only for Allah to lay punishment and judgment over these “kafirs,” but it nonetheless is clear in who a “kafir” is.

    Given the tribal nature of early Muslims, when the Koran was written, it is perfectly logical that the Koran would allow a Muslim man to marry a nonMuslim woman, but not the other way around. Why? When women marry a man, they take on the man’s name, and enter his “clan” so to speak. The woman gives up her own identity, and actually takes on the identity of her husband. Thus was the case with the nonMuslim women that Muhammad married. (see, Safiyah, for example) A nonMuslim woman’s opinion on religion is borderline irrelevant, because there are specific actions that can be taken in the Islamic religion by a husband against a wife, if the wife is disobedient. And, given the clan/tribal nature of early Muslims, it was the man as head of household who dictated which religion the family would be raised as.

    IN CONTRAST!

    A nonMuslim man, according to what I see as the clear history and text of Islam, would be seen as heading his own faimly/clan, and dictating the religion as he sees fit to his wife. And the Islamic religion would have no recourse against the man, should he choose a nonMuslim religion as the religion with which to raise the kids. This would mean that a Muslim woman marrying a nonMuslim man will have kids that will not be Muslim, and the ummah will not be able to spread in the progeny of this woman’s kids.

    Do I think this sort of thinking is outdated? Yes. Do I advocate this sort of thinking? No. But should we at least be honest with ourselves about the fact and existence of this sort of thinking? Also yes.

    If Islam is to reform itself, the only way to reform is to say “thinking such as this and the Koranic and Hadith text that results from this is from the 7th century. Thus, any text from the Koran that speaks to women not being able to marry a nonMuslim should be excised.” Thus, I am showing a path to reformation. But that path to reformation requires first an acknowledgement of the need to reform.

    I hope that clears things up.

    Reply
  52. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Red Tulips,

    Why do you believe God hopes for humanity to be happy?

    Because that is my concept of God.

    Where do you see that? Where has history shown this to be the case?

    I said I believe God wants us to be happy and healthy. Not that He would make it so. Life is a test. Some of us pass, and some of us fail. Without hardships and suffering, there could be no growth, and no enlightenment, either. You think because we aren’t all in Heaven from the time we are born, that there is no God? If God wanted life to be perfect He would have made it so.

    Where is it in the bible or the Koran that it is even stated “God created the world in order for mankind to be happy”?

    The entire New testament is a recipe for human happiness.

    That’s the last of what I’m willing to say about your atheism, that’s not the topic :)

    Reply
  53. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Craig:

    I never said “the proof of the lack of God is in the tsunami, Holocaust, etc etc etc.”

    I said something else.

    I said “the proof that, if God exists, God is not committed to human happiness as the end goal is in the suffering seen in the world, and the human psyche of not understanding happiness without sadness.”

    Now, you may get happiness by following the New Testemant. But this is not proof that God hopes for humanity to be happy. This is merely YOU being happy over reading the New Testemant.

    Reply
  54. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Red Tulips (again)

    I already cited chapter and verse of the Koran to explain the clear logic – namely, I looked at the chapter and verse that Carmen cited, and saw that the clear meaning of it was exactly the opposite of what she claimed it was.

    No, you didn’t.

    From Carmen’s blog (the part you quoted):

    The Quran says that NO MUSLIM, man or woman, is allowed to marry a mushrik (2:221) nor a kafir (60:10-11). NO MUSLIM. Period. End of discussion.

    AL-BAQARA 2:221

    YUSUFALI: Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.

    This is a prohibition on marrying idolaters (mushrik, polytheists). Does not apply to Christians and Jews.

    AL-MUMTAHINA 60:010

    YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine (and test) them: Allah knows best as to their Faith: if ye ascertain that they are Believers, then send them not back to the Unbelievers. They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the Unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower), and there will be no blame on you if ye marry them on payment of their dower to them. But hold not to the guardianship of unbelieving women: ask for what ye have spent on their dowers, and let the (Unbelievers) ask for what they have spent (on the dowers of women who come over to you). Such is the command of Allah: He judges (with justice) between you. And Allah is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom.

    AL-MUMTAHINA 060.012

    YUSUFALI: O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    This is a command that women who join Muslims from outside be examined to see if they believe in God (the one God) or not. Believers in the one God are Christians, Muslims and Jews. Christians, Muslims or Jews are kafirs if they don’t actually believe. Hence, the command that their faith be tested. Obviously, if these women weer already Muslim, these tests would be un-necessary. Mohamed comments many places in the Quran on the difference between Christians and Jews who actually believe in God, and those who are Christians and Jews but do not believe.

    You have misinterpreted what Carmen was saying (and what I’m saying) and then accused her of not understanding what she was reading. Do *you* understand what you are reading? It’s right there. What’s your “clear intent” interpretation of those 3 verses? How can these verses be interpreted to mean what you THINK that they mean?

    Reply
  55. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    By the way,

    Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you.

    That is EXPLICIT permission for Muslim women to marry Christians, Jews or Muslims, if they are true believers in the one God. That is the only place where the marriage rights of women are mentioned in the Quran. And in that verse, women have the same rights as men.

    Reply
  56. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Craig:

    The verses cited that no Muslim may marry a Kafir, nor a mushrik. The Koran then goes on to say that a Muslim man may marry a woman “person of the book” if they follow certain guidelines.

    Now why would the Koran have such a superfluous verse? The rule against superfluity would require one to assume that the earlier verse would be taken to otherwise be a blanket rule against all Muslims marrying people of the book. And yet there is an exception here: MEN can marry women people of the book. I already explained the logic behind this rule and its exception.

    Let me add this. I would argue that a nonMuslim woman who marries a Muslim man is inherently NOT a kafir in the eyes of Islam, since she is accepting the hegemony of her husband, and is implicitly accepting the notion that her kids will be raised Muslim. (thus, she is accepting Muhammad as the prophet in a certain way) She may be a “kafir” in her heart, but not “socially,” as far as Muslims are concerned.

    IN CONTRAST! A nonMuslim man who marries a Muslim woman is NOT accepting the hegemony of his wife, and is NOT implicitly accepting the notion that their kids will be raised Muslim. Thus, such a nonMuslim man is NOT accepting Muhammad as the prophet in any way at all. He is thus considered a “kafir” as far as society is concerned.

    This is the logic. I do not support this logic, or say it is right. But it is the logic, it is clear, and it is right there in the Koran (I already cited to the text about kafirs, which clearly show that a “person of the book” who is exposed to the “truth” about Muhammad being the prophet and ignores this truth is considered a kafir according to the plain meaning of the Koranic text)

    Reply
  57. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Craig:

    Just so we are clear, the Koranic text you just cited is very clear in saying that nonMuslim men cannot marry Muslim women until they believe.

    The text is clear.

    Please read it again. There is no doubt as to what it says.

    Reply
  58. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    And another BTW… I think part of the problem you are having, Red Tulips, is that you don’t understand that in the the Quran, all three of the Abrahamic are treated as being valid paths to God. Islam is unique amongst the three, in that it doesn’t claim salvation is exclusive to Muslims. Faithful Jews and Christians are saved, along with faithful Muslims.

    My own view is that Christianity is also not exclusionary, as Jesus is quite clear on what the means of Judgment are, and they aren’t based on religion. But I am in disagreement with most of my co-religionists on that, who believe that only Christians will be saved.

    So, Christians and Jews are believers, so long as they are faithful Christians and Jews. It is clearly written so in the Quran.

    Reply
  59. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Red Tulips, this is my LAST comment to you on this post. It’s getting tedious, to be honest.

    Just so we are clear, the Koranic text you just cited is very clear in saying that nonMuslim men cannot marry Muslim women until they believe.

    It does NOT say “non-Muslim” – you suggested I read it again, why don’t you go read it again? I thought you said you were a lawyer? You have just handed me a complete fabrication, as the basis of your argument.

    Reply
  60. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Craig:

    Please cite where exactly in the Koran it treats Christians and Jews equally with Muslims. I find that notion to be probably the most unsupported, of all you have written.

    In fact, the Koran allows Christians and Jews to be dhimmis, with second class rights. Christians and Jews are considered “people of the book” because they supposedly received God’s revelation prior to the Muslims, and wrote it down.

    And yet the very basis of Islam is the notion that Christians and Jews received this revelation and distorted/corrupted it. It is not a religion that says Christians and Jews are somehow equal to Muslims in the path to heaven.

    What the Koran does say is that Jews and Christians can get to heaven if they are good Christians and Jews, but they face extra obstacles because they have perverted/corrupted the “revelations” of God.

    Actually, this is one of the parts of Islam I have less problems with. Every religion says it’s the best and the one true belief. This is where Islam is merely echoing what every other faith says. The problem I have is when Islamists seek to spread their religion by the sword, and subjugate the dhimmis. THAT is where I have a problem.

    Reply
  61. Red Tulips
    February 1, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Craig, let me quote the text you quoted…

    Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you.

    Given Jews and Christians are unbelievers (because they do not believe Muhammad is the prophet of Allah), that text is very clear in saying that Muslim women may not marry Jewish and Christian men “of the book.” But once such a person “believes,” it’s fine to marry that person.

    Reply
  62. Craig
    February 1, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Red Tulips, you are wrong, across the board. Everything you have said, is wrong. I have corrected you. Muslims have corrected you. Yet, you persist. When teh Quran means Muslims, it says Muslims. A “believer” is not only a Muslim, it’s any believer in God. The word “believer” is used in that context, in the Quran. The Quran uses the word “Muslim” when it is referring specifically to Muslims. The only confusion on this issue, is yours.

    Since you have been repeatedly corrected in this thread, and have ignored the corrections, I’ve got to believe you are doing it deliberately. I have no further interest in discussing this with you. I really wish you’d knock it the hell of with reinforcing the most ignorant and the most intolerant possible reading of the Quran, but that’s up to you. You want to crank up the hate, then go for it. But stop pretending like you “sympathize” with Carmen. You obviously don’t. To the extent you are telling untruths to attack her.

    Reply
  63. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Craig:

    Frankly, my goal here is to simply highlight the existence of these texts in the Koran, in the hopes that people will be aware of them, and not whitewash Islam. Only then can real reformation occur. This has nothing to do with hate.

    I frankly do not know Carmen, but it is not my business whether she chooses to follow the Koran or not. Given I am against strict interpretations of religious texts, I in fact would be happy if she didn’t follow a literal reading of the Koran. I want it to be clear that I 10000000000% am not arguing that she should be following Koranic literalism. That is not at all what I am arguing for. However, Carmen is claiming that she is following Koranic literalism. I think the world would be a better place if it simply was honest about the actual contents of the religious texts (and by that I mean all of them), rather than fooling the world into thinking that a strict literal interpretation of any of the “big three” Abrahamic faiths somehow is compatible with modern western civilization. I do not believe that to be the case, and I think that pretending otherwise actively harms the cause of reformation by hiding the very clear need for reform.

    I see what you are claiming the word “believer” means, but you are absolutely ignoring the fact that “believer” in Islam very clearly means the following:

    There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.

    I already cited chapter and verse where the Koran clearly states that THIS is the core of what it means to be a “believer.” You are choosing to ignore this and then add that somehow I am a hater for stating the obvious. That is your choice.

    Frankly, I remember you from other places across the net, I like you, and if you dislike me for having these opinions, that’s fine, but I hope that in the future we can get past this.

    Reply
  64. Twosret
    February 2, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Ya habibti ya Carmen el Sheikh’s ketro :) ya Okhti we enti hatroohi balash. Menak Le Allah ya Sandmonkey. el bent. hatrooh fee khabar Kan:)

    Saya7 kaman we kaman yalla elli meyshtari yetfarag.

    Reply
  65. Carmen
    February 2, 2007 at 2:25 am

    @Twosret :D

    Love you Sandmonkey :)

    Reply
  66. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 2:35 am

    Carmen: I hope you are not offended by what I wrote. I simply disagree with your interpretation of the Koran. HOWEVER! I applaud your life choices.

    I hope that distinction is understood.

    Reply
  67. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 4:46 am

    From the IslamOnline link you yourself left earlier, Tulips:

    In this verse, Allah makes it clear that such a union involving a believing man and a non-believing woman, or a non-believing man and a believing woman is sure to fail and thus cannot happen.

    When coming to the issue of People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians), it is totally different because they believe in God, which shows that there is a background shared by the man and the woman who are willing to marry.

    Hope that clears things up for you on the whole “believer” issue a little for ya! Too bad you didn’t read it yourself before linking it for us, could have saved us all a lot of time, eh?

    Reply
  68. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 4:55 am

    And Red Tulips, I don’t dislike you for having the opinions you have, but I don’t like arguing with people who won’t admit when they are wrong. In this debate for instance, we never got past the initial point of contention (what is a kafir?) because no matter how many people disputed your statement of “fact” you just plowed right along.

    But, no, I’m not going to hold a grudge against you :)

    I tend to only do that when people are abusive, and you haven’t been anything but polite.

    Reply
  69. nomad
    February 2, 2007 at 7:25 am

    I don’t dislike you for having the opinions you have,

    depends on which nationality is in your favor and what issues you intend to have with them and if it full moon

    Reply
  70. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Nomad, you are one of my favorite bloggers and commenters, and you know it :)

    I’m not mad at you, I thought you were getting mad at me. That’s why I left that other thread before it got worse.

    Reply
  71. nomad
    February 2, 2007 at 7:51 am

    yeah, might be, but your opinion won’t move from one iota, that’s why it’s not possible trying to justify anything with you as far as I am french

    Reply
  72. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Craig:

    Let me requote what you quoted, from Islamonline. I hope this will clear things up.

    In this verse, Allah makes it clear that such a union involving a believing man and a non-believing woman, or a non-believing man and a believing woman is sure to fail and thus cannot happen.

    When coming to the issue of People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians), it is totally different because they believe in God, which shows that there is a background shared by the man and the woman who are willing to marry.

    Nowhere in there does it say “people of the book” are “believers” rather than “unbelievers” in the technical sense of the Koran.

    But moreover, I already covered this ground. A nonMuslim woman who marries the Muslim man is considered a “believer” through her accepting of the husband’s family and hegemony over her life. (even if she remains a nonbeliever in a her heart) Not so for a nonMuslim man marrying a Muslim woman. This text did not dispute that, and then the other link from IslamOnline showed as much very explicitly.

    I know what I am saying is that there is a double standard for men versus women in Islam. Guess what? This only puts this religion in the league of Judaism and Christianity which similarly hold different views for men and women. But let’s just admit this, and admit that religion is generally NOT egalitarian OR always fair.

    And I am glad that we are politely disagreeing. :)

    Reply
  73. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Red Tulips, you can continue to re-state your opinion as much as you want. Your opinion is still wrong :P

    Reply
  74. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Btw, Craig, I showed a Koranic source as to what a Kafir is, and it is very clearly someone who does not believe “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet” after being “shown the light.” I am not saying that the Koran clearly labels all Jews and Christians as kafirs automatically. Though, that said, read a Koran and you will see frequent references to Jews and Christians as “infidels.” On closer inspection, this is propogated through the notion that Jews and Christians were shown “the truth” and then “perverted it” through their books. And so there are many people out there who absolutely are calling all Jews and Christians “kafirs.” I see ample justification to do so in the constant calls of Jews/Christians as “infidels” in the Koran.

    However, I think the verses in the Koran are meant to really say that the Jewish and Christian religions are kafir/infidelistic religions, and corrupt. I think one could make a reasonable interpretation of the Koran with the notion that individual Jews/Christians are not “kafir” until they are exposed to Islam and reject it. So basically, the notion would be that Jews/Christians did not inherit the “sins of the father.” (This was a problem for Jews for a millenia, when they were blamed for the death of Christ. It was not until the 20th century that the Vatican officially declared “No, the Jewish people are not responsible for the death of Christ!”) But anyway, even that interpretation is absolutely considered a “liberal” interpretation in many circles.

    Have you read the Koran? If you have, then you would have read frequent references to Jews and Christians as infidels. (which translates into “kafir”)

    So where is there room for reform? In this instance, the room for reform is clearly by a reformer arguing no one can be a “kafir” until they actually reject Islam, and that no punishment can be meted out for such a rejection of Islam, because only Allah can punish such people. Also, another reform would be saying that a nonMuslim man would not be a “kafir” if he married a Muslim woman, because he is accepting Islam in his life in some way, through marrying such a woman and the hegemony of this woman in his life. This would go against the history and culture of tribalism (as well as the rule against superfluity of statutory interpretation), but I also find it hard to believe this would ever be accepted. Why? Well, let’s see how easily it is accepted that a woman is supposed to have a hegemony in a marriage relationship. And yes, this would actually be considered a reform of Islam, or at least the mainstream interpretations of it. (and by mainstream, I mean, what vast majority of the world thinks)

    But let’s at least be honest with ourselves and admit that this is a reform of Islam. That is all I ask. That said, if Carmen feels so strongly about this, she should think about supporting a Koran council of women who are dedicated to this very task. :)

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/21/world/main2203280.shtml

    Reply
  75. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Btw, Craig, you keep saying I am wrong without actually refuting the core of what I am saying.

    Reply
  76. fadfadation
    February 2, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Red Tulip,

    Which law firm are you working in man??

    i am sure you are one hell of a lawyer…lol

    You hold the concept of proving something very well.
    :)

    Reply
  77. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    This is my final take on the subject…

    The only way to understand a religion is to understand the original intent behind scripture. The original intent in this case was because of the clannish/tribalistic nature of Arabs. Given Muslims in America (and the West) no longer abide by such old school tribalism, I heartily approve either overturning or completely reinterpreting Islamic law.

    But the only intellectually honest way to do so is to admit these laws exist to begin with, then examine why they exist, and then determine if that reasoning applies in the modern day.

    The problem with doing so in the case of Islam is that the actual text of the Koran is seen as the exact word of Allah. Of course, this is easily disproven with the fact that there were many different Korans that existed at one point, until basically one Koran was chosen as “the Koran.” So while Muslims may believe that the Koran is the exact, irrefutable word of Allah, the history of the Koran itself proves that this is an absolute impossibility.

    Once that is understood, then reform of the religion (and verses such as the ones being discussed here) is possible. But it absolutely will never happen if well-intentioned people like Carmen lie to themselves over what the Koran actually says.

    Reply
  78. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Red Tulips,

    Btw, Craig, I showed a Koranic source as to what a Kafir is

    No, you posted a link to IslamOnline. That is not the Quran.

    And your own link disproved your own opinion. I quoted it for you. I will do so again, now:

    In this verse, Allah makes it clear that such a union involving a believing man and a non-believing woman, or a non-believing man and a believing woman is sure to fail and thus cannot happen.

    Kafir.

    When coming to the issue of People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians), it is totally different because they believe in God, which shows that there is a background shared by the man and the woman who are willing to marry.

    Non-Kafir.

    If you don’t believe your own evidence, why do you cite it?

    I am glad that you are now dropping the subject. 20 comments each, and we never got past what a kafir is. We never even got near the actual topic of discussion.

    Reply
  79. Craig
    February 2, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Red Tulips,

    Have you read the Koran?

    More of it than you have. I suspect you haven’t read any of it at all, you’ve only read what you saw misquoted on blogs, right? Even in this thread, you kept stating that you had ALREADY cited chapter and verse from the Quran. You did not cite the Quran once in this thread. You copy pasted what Carmen said and then disputed it. I challenged you to prove your argument with your own citations from scripture.

    If you have, then you would have read frequent references to Jews and Christians as infidels.

    No, I have never seen that. The word “infidel” is not in any English translation of the Quran that I ahve read. It’s a latin word. It’s a word CHRSITIANS use for NON-CHRISTIANS.

    The word in the Quran is “unbeliever” – and there are many types of unbeliever. A kafir is only one of them. And Kafir has a very specific meaning, which you have not grasped. People of the Book are not referred to as Kafirs. Not anywhere in the Quran.

    I’m perfectly willing to argue this with you. But you need to cite some REAL evidence – from the Quran. And knock it off with ignoring the truth, just because you don’t like it, and it doesn’t match your expectations.

    (which translates into “kafir”)

    You have been educated about what Kafir means multiple times in this thread, from at least 2 Muslims (3 if you count Carmen’s post) and from at least one Western Christian (me) – and you were disproven by that very cite you referenced to back up your own claim.

    I’m afraid I don’t share what’s-his-names high opinion of your lawyering skills. You’ve repeatedly asserted a “fact” which is false on it’s face. Is that what you do in court?

    Reply
  80. Red Tulips
    February 2, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Craig:

    Please look again at what I quoted. I actually did quote from the Koran and linked to the wikipedia definition of “Kafir,” itself which links to a Koranic citation.

    Sorry, but you simply are mistaken here. I do not know which translation you have read of the Koran, but my translation absolutely did refer rather frequently to “infidels.”

    The wikipedia link, which discusses what a kafir is with direct citations from the Koran:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    Moreover, I already cited, waaaaay upthread, that a “believer” is someone who does not just believe in one God, but rather believes there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

    You simply refuse to read this, ignore it, I am not sure.

    Reply
  81. the game is up
    February 3, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Gosh! What nonsense! We live in a day and age when Islamo-fascist fucks threaten to kill off the other cultures by force, intimidation or breeding and, yet, some aren’t ready to understand the geo-political reality (you know who I’m referring to).

    As far as I’m concerning, I encourage more Muzzie women to marry “unbelievers”. The more the merrier. Anything to blunt the Islam-fascist spear is fine with me. :)

    Reply
  82. Craig
    February 3, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Red Tulips, this is the “Quranic References” from your wikipedia link:

    Qur’anic references

    The word kāfir (and related words, such as the abstract noun kufr “disbelief”) is mentioned in the Qur’an in five different senses:

    1. Kufr al-tawheed: to reject the belief in the Oneness of God. The Qur’an says:
    * As to those who reject faith (kafaru), it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe (2:6; Yusuf Ali)
    2. Kufr al-ni`mah: to lack gratefulness to God or to people. The Qur’an says:
    * Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (la takfurun)(2:152; Shakir)
    * (Pharaoh) said (to Moses): … And you did (that) deed of yours which you did, and you are one of the ungrateful (kafireen)(26:18-19; Shakir)
    3. Kufr at-tabarri: to disown/clear oneself from. The Qur’an says:
    * Indeed, there is for you a good example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people: “Surely we are clear of you (kafarna bekom).” (60:4; Shakir)
    4. Kufr al-juhud: to deny. The Qur’an says:
    * When there comes to them that which they [should] have recognized, they refuse to believe in (kafaru) it.(2:89; Yusuf Ali)
    5. Kufr at-taghtiyah to hide/bury something, like planting a seed in the ground. The Qur’an says:
    * The likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman (kuffar.) (57:20; Pickthall)

    Reply
  83. Craig
    February 3, 2007 at 5:33 am

    1,2,3,4,5 do not apply to faithful Christians and Jews. Period. There is nothing in there about:

    Moreover, I already cited, waaaaay upthread, that a “believer” is someone who does not just believe in one God, but rather believes there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

    That there. Is there?

    The link I provided you is the actual Quran as translated by all 3 of the translators that that WIKI link references.

    Shakir
    Yusuf Ali
    Pickthall

    You can read their translations of the Quran in their entirety, right here:

    The Noble Qur’an

    And I suggest that you do. Or at least part of it. Because you are making a fool of yourself. Maududi’s chapter introductions are worth reading as well.

    By the way, that Wikipedia link is wrong on many accounts. I’m surprised nobody has challenged it, yet.

    Reply
  84. Craig
    February 3, 2007 at 6:14 am

    AL-BAQARA 002.121

    YUSUFALI: Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own.

    PICKTHAL: Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers.

    SHAKIR: Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. These believe in it; and whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.

    The difference (in the Quran) between a Christian or Jewish believer, and a Christian or Jewish kafir, is right there. And a hundred other places.

    Reply
  85. Red Tulips
    February 3, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Craig, are you willfully distoring things in your mind? The actual Koranic references, per wikipedia:

    1) Kufr al-tawheed: to reject the belief in the Oneness of God (NOTE: this is NOT the text of the Koran, it is really just some wiki person saying this. The Koran, however, says: The Qur’an says:
    As to those who reject faith (kafaru), it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe (2:6; Yusuf Ali)

    FAITH. As in, the ‘truth’ that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. This is backed up by a Koranic reference concerning the definition of a “believer.”

    002.001
    YUSUFALI: A.L.M.
    PICKTHAL: Alif. Lam. Mim.
    SHAKIR: Alif Lam Mim.

    002.002
    YUSUFALI: This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah;
    PICKTHAL: This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil).
    SHAKIR: This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil).

    002.003
    YUSUFALI: Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;
    PICKTHAL: Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them;
    SHAKIR: Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them.

    002.004
    YUSUFALI: And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.
    PICKTHAL: And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter.
    SHAKIR: And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.

    002.005
    YUSUFALI: They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.
    PICKTHAL: These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.
    SHAKIR: These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.

    Next one.

    2) Kufr al-ni`mah: to lack gratefulness to God or to people. The Qur’an says:
    Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (la takfurun)(2:152; Shakir)
    (Pharaoh) said (to Moses): … And you did (that) deed of yours which you did, and you are one of the ungrateful (kafireen)(26:18-19; Shakir)

    This is an explicit reference to Jews as infidels because of the story in the bible that speaks to the Hebrews worshipping the Golden Calf after they were rescued from the Pharoah. Some Islamic scholars take this to mean only THOSE Hebrews are infidels, and some say that those sins have been imputed to all Jews. Indeed, this is often taken as “proof” that all Jews are Kafirs.

    NEXT!

    3) Kufr at-tabarri: to disown/clear oneself from. The Qur’an says:
    Indeed, there is for you a good example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people: “Surely we are clear of you (kafarna bekom).” (60:4; Shakir)

    This is saying that the enemies are those who have rejected “the faith.” And this is backed up by a further Koranic reference.

    060.001
    YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.
    PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! Choose not My enemy and your enemy for allies. Do ye give them friendship when they disbelieve in that truth which hath come unto you, driving out the messenger and you because ye believe in Allah, your Lord? If ye have come forth to strive in My way and seeking My good pleasure, (show them not friendship). Do ye show friendship unto them in secret, when I am Best Aware of what ye hide and what ye proclaim? And whosoever doeth it among you, he verily hath strayed from the right way.
    SHAKIR: O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.

    That is very clearly saying to NOT BE FRIENDS with those who do not consider Muhammad as the prophet. Yes, the clear text of the Koran is saying that Muslims cannot be friends with nonMuslims.

    060.002
    YUSUFALI: If they were to get the better of you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you for evil: and they desire that ye should reject the Truth.
    PICKTHAL: If they have the upper hand of you, they will be your foes, and will stretch out their hands and their tongues toward you with evil (intent), and they long for you to disbelieve.
    SHAKIR: If they find you, they will be your enemies, and will stretch forth towards you their hands and their tongues with evil, and they ardently desire that you may disbelieve.

    This is clearly saying to NOT trust unbelievers and treat them as the enemy.

    Kufr al-juhud: to deny. The Qur’an says:
    When there comes to them that which they [should] have recognized, they refuse to believe in (kafaru) it.(2:89; Yusuf Ali)

    This Koranic passage speaks of treating “unbelievers” rather harshly, speaking of their otherworldy punishment. It then goes on to explain why Jews are unbelievers.

    002.091
    YUSUFALI: When it is said to them, “Believe in what Allah Hath sent down, “they say, “We believe in what was sent down to us:” yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. Say: “Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?”
    PICKTHAL: And when it is said unto them: Believe in that which Allah hath revealed, they say: We believe in that which was revealed unto us. And they disbelieve in that which cometh after it, though it is the truth confirming that which they possess. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Why then slew ye the prophets of Allah aforetime, if ye are (indeed) believers?
    SHAKIR: And when it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has revealed, they say: We believe in that which was revealed to us; and they deny what is besides that, while it is the truth verifying that which they have. Say: Why then did you kill Allah’s Prophets before if you were indeed believers?

    This is following the age old canard that Jews are the murderers of Christ.

    But the Koran does go on.

    002.092
    YUSUFALI: There came to you Moses with clear (Signs); yet ye worshipped the calf (Even) after that, and ye did behave wrongfully.
    PICKTHAL: And Moses came unto you with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), yet, while he was away, ye chose the calf (for worship) and ye were wrong-doers.
    SHAKIR: And most certainly Musa came to you with clear arguments, then you took the calf (for a god) in his absence and you were unjust.

    002.093
    YUSUFALI: And remember We took your covenant and We raised above you (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai): (Saying): “Hold firmly to what We have given you, and hearken (to the Law)”: They said:” We hear, and we disobey:” And they had to drink into their hearts (of the taint) of the calf because of their Faithlessness. Say: “Vile indeed are the behests of your Faith if ye have any faith!”
    PICKTHAL: And when We made with you a covenant and caused the Mount to tower above you, (saying): Hold fast by that which We have given you, and hear (Our Word), they said: We hear and we rebel. And (worship of) the calf was made to sink into their hearts because of their rejection (of the covenant). Say (unto them): Evil is that which your belief enjoineth on you, if ye are believers.
    SHAKIR: And when We made a covenant with you and raised the mountain over you: Take hold of what We have given you with firmness and be obedient. They said: We hear and disobey. And they were made to imbibe (the love of) the calf into their hearts on account of their unbelief Say: Evil is that which your belief bids you if you are believers.

    This is blaming the Jews for the “golden calf” incident and shows it as “proof” that the Jews are unbelievers.

    But the Koran does not spend time merely speaking against the Jews. Feel free to read what the Koran says about Christians.

    I take this only to mean an invection against those specific Jews/Christians who committed various wrongs. However, SOME (many) people have taken this to mean an invection against all Jews and Christians.

    Kufr at-taghtiyah to hide/bury something, like planting a seed in the ground. The Qur’an says:
    The likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman (kuffar.) (57:20; Pickthall)

    This section is another repetition of the notion that Jews/Christians were sent “the truth” and then perverted it/buried it.

    057.026
    YUSUFALI: And We sent Noah and Abraham, and established in their line Prophethood and Revelation: and some of them were on right guidance. But many of them became rebellious transgressors.
    PICKTHAL: And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the prophethood and the scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers.
    SHAKIR: And certainly We sent Nuh and Ibrahim and We gave to their offspring the (gift of) prophecy and the Book; so there are among them those who go aright, and most of them are transgressors.

    057.027
    YUSUFALI: Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors.
    PICKTHAL: Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism they invented – We ordained it not for them – only seeking Allah’s pleasure, and they observed it not with right observance. So We give those of them who believe their reward, but many of them are evil-livers.
    SHAKIR: Then We made Our messengers to follow in their footsteps, and We sent Isa son of Marium afterwards, and We gave him the Injeel, and We put in the hearts of those who followed him kindness and mercy; and (as for) monkery, they innovated it– We did not prescribe it to them– only to seek Allah’s pleasure, but they did not observe it with its due observance; so We gave to those of them who believed their reward, and most of them are transgressors.

    057.028
    YUSUFALI: O ye that believe! Fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a Light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your past): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
    PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah and put faith in His messenger. He will give you twofold of His mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein ye shall walk, and will forgive you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful;
    SHAKIR: O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and believe in His Messenger: He will give you two portions of His mercy, and make for you a light with which you will walk, and forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful;

    057.029
    YUSUFALI: That the People of the Book may know that they have no power whatever over the Grace of Allah, that (His) Grace is (entirely) in His Hand, to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. For Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.
    PICKTHAL: That the People of the Scripture may know that they control naught of the bounty of Allah, but that the bounty is in Allah’s hand to give to whom He will. And Allah is of Infinite Bounty.
    SHAKIR: So that the followers of the Book may know that they do not control aught of the grace of Allah, and that grace is in Allah’s hand, He gives it to whom He pleases; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

    And so, this passage is saying that if Jews/Christians decide to “believe,” they will be rewarded in heaven.

    Let me cite a couple final and definitive passages, which I believe is all the proof necessary to show that Christians and Jews are considered “unbelievers.”

    002.087
    YUSUFALI: We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!
    PICKTHAL: And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and We supported him with the Holy spirit. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay?
    SHAKIR: And most certainly We gave Musa the Book and We sent messengers after him one after another; and We gave Isa, the son of Marium, clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, What! whenever then a messenger came to you with that which your souls did not desire, you were insolent so you called some liars and some you slew.

    002.088
    YUSUFALI: They say, “Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah’s Word: we need no more).” Nay, Allah’s curse is on them for their blasphemy: Little is it they believe.
    PICKTHAL: And they say: Our hearts are hardened. Nay, but Allah hath cursed them for their unbelief. Little is that which they believe.
    SHAKIR: And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.

    If that is not a clear enough accounting for you as to why Jews and Christians are not considered believers, I hope this helps:

    002.121
    YUSUFALI: Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own.
    PICKTHAL: Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers.
    SHAKIR: Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. These believe in it; and whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.

    Thus, those Jews and Christians who read their scriptures are reading a “perverted” message and are not REAL believers.

    Later on, the Koran does say that Jews and Christians can enter heaven.

    002.111
    YUSUFALI: And they say: “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” Those are their (vain) desires. Say: “Produce your proof if ye are truthful.”
    PICKTHAL: And they say: None entereth paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian. These are their own desires. Say: Bring your proof (of what ye state) if ye are truthful.
    SHAKIR: And they say: None shall enter the garden (or paradise) except he who is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful.

    002.112
    YUSUFALI: Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
    PICKTHAL: Nay, but whosoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah while doing good, his reward is with his Lord; and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
    SHAKIR: Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve.

    In conclusion, the Koran is there for the world to see. It is not an egalitarian faith. Pretending otherwise means willfully ignoring vast swaths of the Koran. But why are so many Muslims good, decent, kind, loving people, if that is the case?

    Why? Because many Muslims have reformed Islam in their hearts and way of life already. They are not living a life according to the strict code of the Koran, because if they did, well…that wouldn’t be pleasant. They already have decided to “keep this” and “not keep” that. But unfortunately, such people are not writing down their reformed faith, and making it a part of the intellectual life of Islam. This needs to happen on a far wider scale than it is happening.

    Reply
  86. Red Tulips
    February 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Anyway, Craig, I feel that the Koranic references I have given, which are now quite extensive, show that Christians and Jews can be considered “kafir.”

    In fact, the very notion of kafir as someone who was shown the truth and buried or denied it basically refers to “people of the book” who were shown “the truth” and then perverted the message. Feel free to dispute this, but the Koran is really rather clear in saying this. A liberal/reformer interpretation of the Koran would hold that only those Jews/Christians who were specifically taught Islam and then rejected it are considered “kafir.” I think that the Koran can withstand that interpretation. However, EVEN THIS is not necessarily clear on the face of the language in the Koran.

    One way to get to that interpretation is to say that Muhammad was at war with Jewish and Christian tribes who were not believing what he had to say, and thus, he was speaking of THOSE tribes in particular when he said his invectives. (and thus it does not apply to the modern day)

    But the problem with doing things like that means admitting that the Koran was basically made up by Muhammad. Giving “historical context” to the text also means invalidating it at the same time.

    And THAT, I believe, is one of the biggest problems facing Islamic reformers today.

    Reply
  87. Craig
    February 3, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Al Baqari 002.062

    YUSUFALI: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

    The classes of “believers”, right there.

    Reply
  88. Craig
    February 4, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Red Tulips, You have copy pasted far too much for me to even bother reading. I will pick on of the first things you said:

    FAITH. As in, the ‘truth’ that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. This is backed up by a Koranic reference concerning the definition of a “believer.”

    No, it isn’t. You have just employed yet another cheap stunt, stating you personal opinion about what “faith” means in the Quran, and then claiming your opinion is backed up by the Quran, without proving it.

    In the quote I put in my last comment, you can see thee that there is a qualification on the type of believer who believes in the Quran, versus the other tipes of believers – Christians, Jews and Sabians.

    Ask somebody who reads arabic what the actual word in the Quran is for the type of believer that believes in the Quran. And then ask them what the word is in Arabic for the other types of believer. You will find that the words are different. That’s why when the word “believer” is used, it is usually qualified as to what type of believer is being discussed. Muslims are only one category of believer. No believer is a kafir – by the very definition of the word.

    Kafir is a class of unbeliever. There are many others, such as polytheists(pagans) and hypocrites.

    A kafir is somebody like you. A person who doesn’t believe. Who has no faith. That’s all there is to it. That’s what the word MEANS.

    And THAT, I believe, is one of the biggest problems facing Islamic reformers today.

    No, people like you are the biggest problem Islamic reformers face. You refuse to see what is in front of your own eyes and continually reinforce false interpretations of Quranic verses, and the very definitions the words that they use. You are confirming the way that concepts have been twisted into something intolerant and hateful – something that was never intended.

    You must know that Muslims are not going to “reform” Islam by throwing the Quran into a garbage bin. If there is to be a reform, it will be done by clear minded interpretation of what has been written. Not by disposing of what has been written. I don’t believe you want Islam reformed at all. I believe you want Islam discredited and destroyed. That’s fine, that’s your prerogative. But I’m getting tired of arguing these semantic issues with you. Especially when you are *semantically* wrong! If you’d just get past this “kafir” nonsense we could talk about something important. But instead you’ve become hung up on proving a word means something that it clearly doesn’t. Enough.

    Reply
  89. Red Tulips
    February 4, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Craig:

    You are not reading the text I painstakingly read and copied and pasted for you. I copied and pasted large amounts of text so I cannot be shown to be copying and pasting out of context text.

    If you read that and STILL believe that kafir is what you claim it to be, fine.

    And yes, I do believe that parts (though not all) of the Koran have to either be excised or reinterpreted in light of what its original intent was, and then the determination of whether that original intent still applies.

    But the only way to even get to that is to first acknowledge that the particular Koranic verses exist, to begin with!

    Reply
  90. Craig
    February 4, 2007 at 4:27 am

    You are not reading the text I painstakingly read and copied and pasted for you. I copied and pasted large amounts of text so I cannot be shown to be copying and pasting out of context text.

    OK. Now I read it. It’s just as irrelevant as I thought it was when I first skimmed it. I’m not here to endorse Islam. I’m not a Muslim. I have many problems with what is written in the Quran. Not least of which is, if it’s the literal and unaltered word of God, then why are there so many contradictions? Why is one thing said at one time and place, and a compeltely different thing said at another? It seems far too… capricious… to be the *literal* word of God. But that’s not my problem. I’m not a Muslim. My religion is Christianity, which ahs problems of it’s own.

    As far as what you quoted, you took sections of the Quran which condemn SOME jews and SOME Christians as unbelievers, and interpreted that as meaning ALL Jews and Christians are considered unbelievers.

    This is untrue. There are dozens of verses that disprove that idea. I provided one of them.

    And yes, I do believe that parts (though not all) of the Koran have to either be excised or reinterpreted in light of what its original intent was, and then the determination of whether that original intent still applies.

    Most of what you quoted was from Chapter 2. Do you know what the original intent of Chapter 2 was? It was a message to the Jews of Medina. It enumerates the past transgressions of Jews (which are also enumerated in the same way in both the Torah and the Bible, so I’m not sure what your problem with what the Quran says is?) and it calls on them to return to their faith. Apparently, the Jews in Medina were in a pretty sorry state. At least, according to the Prophet, anyway. If you read it more carefully, you would see that the behavior of Jews in Medina was being compared to what Jews in the distant past had done, that they had been called to account for. This chapter is NOT an indictment of all Jews, or of Judaism itself. Islam considers Judaism and Christianity both to be the same message as Islam, delivered to different people at different times. How could the Quran condemn Judaism and/or Christianity, while at the same time upholding the validity off the two previous religions – as is done in Chapter 2 itself, if you look! – I don’t understand how you can believe that is the “clear intent”. If that was the intent, then Judaism and Christianity would not have been confirmed as valid in the first place. Right?

    I any case, I have no wish to defend Islam. I have no idea how we got this far down the wrong road, but your interpretation of what an unbeliever is wrong. When the Quran talks about a kufar, it is talking about people who don’t believe in God. Atheists. When it talks about unbelievers who are hypocrites, it is talking about people who are nominally Jews, Christians, or Muslims (pretending to be so) when they don’t actually believe. When it talks about unbelievers who are polytheists (idolaters), it is talking about Pagans… people who worship a pantheon of Gods, and stone idols, etc.

    I have explained this to you as thoroughly as I can. I hope you understand it, because I don’t think any Muslim is going to take you seriously when you say the things you do, except the very Jihadis we all love to hate who also love YOUR reading of the Quran. You empower them with your comments, not the reformers.

    Reply
  91. Red Tulips
    February 4, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Craig,

    I wrote a very long reply that was eaten by the internet explorer gods! UGH!

    Anyway.

    I already wrote exactly what you said. Let me requote myself, because I wrote a LOT, so perhaps it has been lost.

    In fact, the very notion of kafir as someone who was shown the truth and buried or denied it basically refers to “people of the book” who were shown “the truth” and then perverted the message. Feel free to dispute this, but the Koran is really rather clear in saying this. A liberal/reformer interpretation of the Koran would hold that only those Jews/Christians who were specifically taught Islam and then rejected it are considered “kafir.” I think that the Koran can withstand that interpretation. However, EVEN THIS is not necessarily clear on the face of the language in the Koran.

    One way to get to that interpretation is to say that Muhammad was at war with Jewish and Christian tribes who were not believing what he had to say, and thus, he was speaking of THOSE tribes in particular when he said his invectives. (and thus it does not apply to the modern day)

    But the problem with doing things like that means admitting that the Koran was basically made up by Muhammad. Giving “historical context” to the text also means invalidating it at the same time.

    Why do I say that? Because nowhere in the Koran does it say “Chapter two only applies to the Jews of Medina.” Nowhere in the Koran does it say “Muhammad was only mad at those Jews.”

    Given the text is supposed to be universal, admitting Chapter two was written for specific Jews at a specific time would imply it is not untimely, and specific verses were written for political reasons at a particular time. (which is what I believe, actually, but that’s neither here nor there) Lest we forget, the Koran is supposed to have been the words of Allah, not Muhammad.

    In any case, let’s look at the Jews of Medina. What were their crimes? This itself is up for debate. Muslims claim that the Jews of Medina disobeyed a compact made between the Muslims and Jews. Yet many historians look at the documents cited re: that explanation and say that the basic crime was lack of conversion to Islam. That would put Muhammad in good company with people like Martin Luther, who thought he was reforming a religion, and was not exactly pleased when the Jews did not decide to hop on board the reformed religion’s train. Anyway, this matter is up for debate, and I doubt it will be resolved anytime soon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Qurayza

    But back to the point at hand. What is a believer? I already cited that the clear definition of a “believer” is someone who believes “there is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.” I think the Koran, however, does allow for Christians and Jews to be considered “believers” if they attain the dhimmi status. Why? Because then Islam would be dominant over their lives, just as it would be for the nonMuslim woman marrying a Muslim man. And thus, they are accepting the hegemony of Islam by being a dhimmi. (just as a nonMuslim wife is in essence the “dhimmi” of her Muslim husband)

    Here is the relevant Koranic verse re: dhimmis, according to its three English translations:

    Yusuf Ali: 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.

    Pickthal: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

    Shakir: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

    And so Muslims are enjoined to fight nonMuslims, including “people of the book.” “People of the book” do not get special status in battle by virtue of their being “people of the book.”

    One final note about marriage, taken from wikipedia…

    Islamic jurists reject the possibility that a dhimmi man (and generally any non-Muslim) may marry a Muslim woman.[141] According to Friedmann, Islamic law regarding mixed marriages developed out of three Quranic verses — 2:221, 60:10, and 5:5. As some early Muslim scholars put it, Friedmann relates, such a marriage would lead to an incompatibility between the superiority of a woman by virtue of her being a Muslim and her unavoidable subservience to a non-Muslim husband. Friedmann also claims that some traditionalists compare marriage to enslavement and thus just like dhimmis are prohibited from having Muslim slaves, so dhimmi men are not allowed to have Muslim wives; conversely, Muslim men were allowed to marry women of the “People of the Book” because the enslavement of non-Muslims by Muslims is allowed.[142] However, Azizah Y. al-Hibri states that the relevant hadith regarding marriage and slavery draw an analogy between the status of women and slaves in Muhammad’s society in order to beseech the male audience to treat them kindly: “Be good to women; for they are powerless captives (awan) in your households. You took them in God’s trust, and legitimated your sexual relations with the Word of God, so come to your senses people, and hear my words…”[143]

    The prohibition of marriage between Muslim woman and Dhimmi man was enforced with the utmost rigor,[144] with any violations of it, including a sexual relationship between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman, being punishable by death; similar to the position between Christians and Jews under the laws of Byzantine Empire “according to which a Christian could marry a Jewish woman, but a Jew could not marry a Christian woman under pain of death”.[145] All schools of Islamic jurisprudence, with the exception of Hanafi, treated dhimmis who married or engaged in sexual relations with Muslim women like adulterers, for whom the punishment is death by stoning.[146] In cases when a non-Muslim wife converts to Islam, while her non-Muslim husband does not, their marriage is annulled.[147]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi#Marriage

    So, to make a long story short…the Koran is cool with “people of the book” if they accept the hegemony of Islam over their lives. They are treated with respect and accorded the dhimmi status. The Koran is NOT cool with “people of the book” who are not accepting the hegemony of Islam over their lives, and I cannot find where it affords THOSE people the respect of being a “believer.” The Koran considers them “hypocrites,” such as like when a Jewish tribe fought Muhammad on Shabbat during the “Battle of the Trench.” (and thus, were called “apes and monkeys”) But THIS WAS WARTIME, and frankly, it was not a war of aggression on the part of the Jewish tribe of Medina. (even if you accept the Muslim narrative, it was not a Jewish war of aggression) The alternative was obviously to accept dhimmi status, or die. And Muhammad had wholly misread the Torah if he thought that it was unholy to fight on the Sabbath, since there is a Torah exception for fighting on Sabbath to protect one’s life.

    So when viewed within that light, it becomes clear why Chapter two exists, and what that implies for Jews and Christians as a whole. Let’s be honest with ourselves about it.

    In any case, let’s be honest with ourselves. I do not find the chance of Islam reforming itself to be a very high one, unless Muslims feel so threatened by Islamic extremism, that they feel the need to counter that threat. Pretending that Islamic extremism is not Islamic and hence not from a threat within Islam then makes it harder to reform, because the NEED for reform is simply not understood.

    Reply
  92. LouLou
    February 5, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Red Tulips,

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people would bend over backwards to convince themselves the Quran says anything other than what it actually says.

    First of all, what does Sura AlTaubah have to do with marriage? Sura AlTaubah refers to a hostile war situation in which non-aggression treatments are signed with the enemy and the enemy then violated them. Forget historical context, forget Wikedpedia. Just read what the verse actually SAYS.

    Here is the first verse of Surah AlTaubah:

    [9:1] This is a declaration of complete vindication on the part of Allah and His Messenger to those of the idolaters with whom you have signed a treaty.

    The next 2 verses promise punishment to the people addressed in the first verse.

    [9:2] So go about in the land for four months, and know that you cannot frustrate the plan of Allah and that Allah will humiliate the disbelievers.

    [9:3] And this is a proclamation from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage, that Allah is clear of idolaters, and so is His Messenger. So if you repent, it will be better for you; but if you turn away, then know that you cannot frustrate the plan of Allah. And give tidings of a painful punishment to those who disbelieve,

    And then the 4th verse shows the exceptions:

    [9:4] Except those of the idolators with whom you have entered into a treaty and who have not subsequently failed you in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfil to these the treaty you have made with them till their term. Surely Allah loves those that are righteous.

    The same pattern persists throughout the entire verse. A call for war/punishment, immediately followed by clarification that it should be directed only against wrong-doers. Infact at one point, Al-Taubah states that even if one of those same wrong-doers were to lay down his weapons and ask for protection, then he is to be protected & escorted home safely.

    [9:5] And when the forbidden months have passed, slay the idolaters (who have violated their treaty & aided others against you)wherever you find them and take them captive, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakaat, then leave their way free. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

    [9:6] And if anyone of the( same) idolaters seeks protection of thee, grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah; then convey him to his place of security. That is because they are a people who have no knowledge.

    The verse gives many descriptions of the sort of people who should be fought:

    [9:8] How can it be when, if they prevail against you, they would not observe any tie of kinship or covenant in respect of you. They would please you with their mouths, while their heart repudiate what they say and most of them are perfidious

    [9:10] They observe not any tie of kinship or covenant in respect of any believer. And it is they who are transgressors.

    [9:12] And if they break their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion, then fight these leaders of disbelief –surely, they have no regard for their oaths, – that they may desist.

    [9:34] O ye who believe! surely, many of the priest and the monks devour the wealth of men by false means and turn men away from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give to them the tidings of a painful punishment.

    And more clearly than ever:

    [9:13] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

    “Muslims claim that the Jews of Medina disobeyed a compact made between the Muslims and Jews.”

    No, that’s not what Muslims claim. Muslims claim that after 13 years of acute persecution during which many of the early Muslims were tortured to death in Mecca, they were finally granted asylum – with their families – in Medina. The Meccans then mounted a military campaign to destroy Medina & its inhabitants for the crime of giving shelter to the Prophet and his followers. Medina was attacked not once but twice after before the Battle of the Trench -which was actually a seige of Medina by the Meccans and their allies. During this seige, a group of Medinan Jews were caught trying to open the gates of the city for the invading armies who made no secret of their intention to destroy the city and its inhabitants – both the Muhajiroon(those Meccan refugees one of whom was the Prophet) and the Ansar(natives of Medina who gave shelter to the Muhajiroon).

    Who are these other historians you mention? Can you give me their names or their publications? I’d love to look at their work and their references.

    “The Koran is NOT cool with “people of the book” who are not accepting the hegemony of Islam over their lives, and I cannot find where it affords THOSE people the respect of being a “believer.””

    Where does the Quran say to fight People of the Book who have not attacked Muslims – or aided others in attacking Muslims – first and force them to pay Jizya? Where does it say to attack them for no reason other than being People of the Book? Please don’t give me your own deductions. Just give me a Quranic reference. I want one verse which says to fight with no verse preceding it or following it in the same Surah mentioning some kind of aggression.

    “Pretending that Islamic extremism is not Islamic and hence not from a threat within Islam then makes it harder to reform, because the NEED for reform is simply not understood.”

    I think that’s the source of your confusion. First you painstaking come up with your own personal interpetations and deductions. Then you convince yourself that they’re the only possible way to read the Quran or understand Islam. Then you start to lecture Muslims about how they should listen to you – and only you – if they want to reform – also taking it upon yourself to presume that ‘Muslims’ wish to reform and if they do, they wish to do it on the basis of YOUR reading which exists mostly in your mind and which I can guarantee most Muslims never even heard of & wouldn’t believe if they heard.

    Reply
  93. Red Tulips
    February 5, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    LouLou:

    I refered to the verses in question so as to explain the logic behind the seemingly illogical marriage law in the Koran.

    Anyway, I refer you to the below article on the Battle of the Trench, which shows a very different story than what you wrote.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/02/muhammad_and_massacre_of_the_q.html

    This article shows a very different picture of a benevolent prophet only fighting when he really has to.

    Now, I will pose a question to you. The specific things brought up in this article – what is said to answer them?

    I realize now that this has gone waaaaaay off topic.

    But seriously, I am hoping you can tell me exactly what is said in response to articles such as those, which cite to the Koran and Hadith. (I am not being facetitious, I really am curious)

    Reply
  94. LouLou
    February 5, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Red Tulips,

    “But seriously, I am hoping you can tell me exactly what is said in response to articles such as those, which cite to the Koran and Hadith. (I am not being facetitious, I really am curious)”

    The response is that anyone can post an article on the internet in which they pick and choose random, out-of-context pieces of Scripture and make them say whatever they wish. That doesn’t interest me. You made a statement about what Muslims believed was the crime of the Jews of Medina so I presented you with what we believe. If there is another version and you choose to believe it, that’s your prerogrative but how is it that you are building Islamic rulings on a version of events that Muslims don’t believe?!!Isn’t there a logical fallacy there?

    I asked you to give me a Quranic quotation – in context – which calls for random, wanton acts of violence against disbelievers for no reason other than that they are disbelievers. Given your long and consistent attacks on the Quran, I expected that producing such an example will be easy for you. So I am waiting. Find me a Quranic verse which calls for unprovoked war and if I cannot find limitations for it within the same Sura, I will concede your point.

    Don’t give me random internet links. I am not interested. You’re attacking the Quran so please support your attack from the Quran.

    Reply
  95. Red Tulips
    February 5, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    LouLou:

    I never said that the Koran (or Quran, I am merely going by Sandmonkey’s spelling here, for clarification’s sake) calls for random attacks on nonbelievers. What I did say was that the Koran I read did not call Jews or Christians “believers” because according to the Koran, they believed in something false, in basically books that perverted the “real” word of Allah. I gave further Koranic references to explain where and why that was said. I then said that verses in question are not clearly directed at only the warring tribes with Muhammad. I further added that the particular tribes who were conquered were not tribes who necessarily were acting with wholesale aggression towards Muhammad, and thus the notion that this was simply brought on by the Jews is rested on shaky ground. (And provided a source by someone who cites to Koranic and Hadith sources for an explanation as to this – THAT was my internet article)

    I am not sure what else there is to cite.

    But I will cite this…

    Blasphemies

    [9:30] The Jews said, “Ezra is the son of GOD,” while the Christians said, “Jesus is the son of GOD!” These are blasphemies uttered by their mouths. They thus match the blasphemies of those who have disbelieved in the past. GOD condemns them. They have surely deviated. It should be noted that Jews do not believe Ezra is the son of God, and in fact Christians believe Jesus is both the son of God and God at the same time, which I frankly, do not understand, but c’est la vie)

    Upholding the Teachings of Religious Leaders Instead of
    God’s Teachings

    [9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.

    [9:62] They swear by GOD to you, to please you, when GOD and His messenger are more worthy of pleasing, if they are really believers.

    ———

    This would tend to lend credance to the view, that I already showed, that Christians and Jews are not considered to be “believers” unless they are dhimmis (and thus accepting Islam over their lives). This is backed up by history, and the Islamic wars throughout the Middle Ages.

    Islam does not call for random wars against any unbelievers. I never said it did. It doesn’t say that Muslims must conquer the earth until there is nothing left to conquer. But Islam does call for wars against those who are basically hurting Islam. However, what’s hurting Islam? And that is a matter that is very open to debate. Jihadists, I believe wrongly, claim that the greatest threat to Islam is seen by the West. (and thus war must be waged in the name of Islam) I do not believe (and see no proof) that the West has declared war on Islam. And so it is here that I believe the Jihadists are wrong in their interpretation of Islam. However, their interpretation is in some ways backed up by those Muslims who, in their moderation, claim that Muhammad’s attacks on the Qurayza tribe was justified, because of the Jewish aggression. But all of the other verses I cited in the Koran do exist, and if Islam is to be moderate, they must either be excised or explained in light of the modern day, which is a difficult task.

    Reply
  96. Red Tulips
    February 5, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    I want to say one final thing. I have nothing against Carmen. What I am writing here has nothing to do with Carmen, someone who appears to be a lovely human being, and who I do not actually know either way.

    What I am writing is a theological discussion about Islam.

    I absolutely do not consider it a sin if Carmen marries whoever she wishes to marry. I am not condemning Carmen, moralizing, or passing judgment. Actually, I am happy that she found love. I say good for her!

    What I am doing is saying that I believe Carmen is fooling herself if she thinks that her actions are cool with Islam. Given I do not believe Islam to be determinative of morality (and all I see are words on a page, and do not believe that God/Allah put those words there), I do not see this as proof of Carmen’s immorality.

    HOWEVER, if one claims that one’s morality actually IS determined by Islam…well…the text speaks for itself.

    I know these are not easy issues. I know that what I am saying will strike a nerve. But ultimately, when it really comes down to it…the Koran shouldn’t say what it says. There shouldn’t be this choice of love or family and identity. And yet there is. Sad to say, this is just one example of the problems of religion in the modern life.

    Reply
  97. LouLou
    February 6, 2007 at 5:14 am

    Red Tulips,

    “This would tend to lend credance to the view, that I already showed, that Christians and Jews are not considered to be “believers” unless they are dhimmis (and thus accepting Islam over their lives). This is backed up by history, and the Islamic wars throughout the Middle Ages.”

    You’re confusing three seperate issues:

    1) There is no doubt that Islam has criticisms against some parts of the Judeo-Christian doctine. Otherwise Islam would have no reason to exist. Islam’s justification for its own existence is that it came as a re-affirmation of previous Revelations and to restore those parts of said Revelations that the Quran claims were corrupted by the unscrupulous among the monks/priests etc….

    So Jews and Christians are not Muslims, yes. However, they are not idolators or disbelievers either because the Quran itself is a re-affirmation of the validity of their Messages. So nowhere int he Quran are they referred to as disbelievers or idolators. And they ARE considered believers.

    2) The above has nothing to do with whether they pay jizya or not. Jizya is a tax to be levied on a vanquished enemy who launched an aggressive war and lost. A form of war reparations, if you will. Paying jizya is a political issue which does not have any impact on the theological standing of those who pay it as far as Islam is concerned..

    3) The two issues above deal with theology(whether you’re ultimately saved or not) and with war. They do not change the fact that in normal, peaceful situations, we are to treat Jews and Christians with respect, trade with them, eat their food and invite them to eat ours and marry them. All Muslim Jurors agree that the Prophet himself married Jewish and Christian women but not kafir women. And they all agree that Muslim men CAN marry Jews and Christians. Those of them who now say Muslim WOMEN can’t marry Jews and Christian fail to back that up. As you have failed to back it up.

    Reply
  98. LouLou
    February 6, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Red Tulips,

    “However, their interpretation is in some ways backed up by those Muslims who, in their moderation, claim that Muhammad’s attacks on the Qurayza tribe was justified, because of the Jewish aggression.”

    If aiding an abetting a military siege with genocidal undertones against the city you happen to live in and its inhabitants is not included in your definition of aggression, well that is your decision. I don’t think you’d find many examples in the real world of people agreeing with you that this is infact an act of love and compassion rather than aggression.

    This however does not change the fact that Muslims believe that Mohammed only attacked and expelled the Jews of Medina because of their individual actions – not because of their religion. And so this incident is not seen by Islamic jurisprudence to reflect on how other Jews/Christians in other places are to be treated – unless they behave the same way this particular group did. And that means it has no relevance to this discussion.

    “Jihadists, I believe wrongly, claim that the greatest threat to Islam is seen by the West.”

    That’s another completely different topic.

    Modern Jihadists are proponents of a relatively new sect in Islam called Wahabism, founded by Imam Abdul Wahab about 100 years ago. Theirs is a very rigid, extremist, fanatical interpretation which is based on rejecting the entire body of Islamic jurisprudence from the 7th century until now except for one Abbasid scholar called Ibn Tayimiyah.

    Their ambition is to forcibly convert the entire Umma to their own reading. The influence of the West – economic, military and cultural stands in the way of their achieving their objective. And so they have declared war on the West for standing in their way. The war has two objectives which all the philosophers of Wahabism from Abdul Wahab himself to Sayid Qutb to Ayman Alzawahri have stated in their books:

    1) To cause the West enough pain militarily that the West is forced to witdhraw or limit its geopolitical involvement in the Islamic World. This involvement the Wahabis consider a sort of covert invasion so from their pov, the Islamic World is currently occupied by the West and they are fighting a military war to free it.
    2) To create many crises, wars and conflicts between Muslims on one hand – and the West on the other. They hope that this will create a perception that the West is threatening Muslims and so limit the appeal of modernity & Western ideals among the Muslim masses. That is what they call ‘winning the cultural war’ or ‘fighting the cultural invasion’.

    There are many ways to counteract their influence but it’s not what you’re doing here so I seriously doubt that is your objective.

    Reply
  99. Red Tulips
    February 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    LouLou:

    Islam does not exist because of reaffirmation of points from Christianity and Judaism. Let me set a few ground rules here. I do not believe the bible is a work that was handed down to the Jews to Moses on Mount Sinai. There, we set the ground rules, that I am not going out on a limb and saying that the texts of Judaism and Christianity are the correct word of God.

    BUT.

    I wrote out a long refutation of Islam, and then I realized it would not exactly endear me to you, and won’t get us anywhere, anyway. Suffice it to say, if you want to read the Koran against the bible, you will see how the Koran is actually wrong about what is contained in the bible. So I will say this. I cited to a Koranic reference that explicitly called a “believer” someone who believes that there is only one God, and Muhammad is his prophet.

    You have yet to explain that away, in any logical way.

    You are also wrong about a jiyza simply being money paid by those who are vanquished. Does this explain why it is to be paid for hundreds of years, if that is how long a state should last? Is that why the jiyza was paid by the Jews of Khaybar, who were not waging a massive war against Muhammad, but simply wanted to avoid war, and preemptively paid a jiyza? You are flat out wrong about the logic of a jiyza. The jiyza is there as a “paid protection.” Basically, “you pay me the jiyza, and you get protection.” At its most basic core, that is what it is.

    LouLou, please show me one instance in Islamic doctrine where nonMuslim men are allowed to marry Muslim women. Seriously. One instance. Please cite a Sura anywhere. There is absolutely no logic behind such superfluous phrasing by saying Muslim men are allowed to marry “people of the book,” unless there was obviously an assumption that they otherwise would not be able to, unless that phrase was there.

    Finally,

    As far as the “Battle of the Trench,” I linked you to an analysis which holds a totally different view of what went on. It holds that this was far from a war of aggression against Muhammad, who did nothing to bring it on. It also holds that the bulk of the Quarayza Jews did not aid and abet the enemy, only some did. And yet all of them suffered the fate of the beheading, not just the leaders. Maybe that was the standard practice back then. But was it necessarily justified? And what of the other Jews left in the city who had nothing to do with this conflict. It was cool to expel them from Medina, merely because they were Jewish? (this is still an issue today, as Saudi Arabia does not allow a single Jew into their country, unless said Jew is a diplomat representing a nation)

    If you think this is solely about Wahhabism, I believe your eyes are closed to the world. The simple fact remains that at this point in time, it is Iran who is greatest threat to world peace. Iran is not Wahhabist, and in fact ascribes to Shia Islam. Hizballah, funded by Iran, now is fighting in Iraq against American troops. And then there’s the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Fatah. None of them ascribe to Wahhabism. All of them are Islamic fundamentalists and either commit terror themselves (Hamas/Fatah), or train/aid/abet terrorists around the world. (MB)

    So this is more than Wahhabism, even if I agree that Wahhabism is a major problem. The problem is much more widespread than that, and I think that Koranic literalism will only help to spread the problem even further. And that is why I think fooling ourselves that Koranic literalism will lead to a peaceful, modern society is just that…fooling ourselves.

    Reply
  100. Lynn
    February 6, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Lou Lou,

    “Jizya is a tax to be levied on a vanquished enemy who launched an aggressive war and lost. A form of war reparations, if you will. Paying jizya is a political issue which does not have any impact on the theological standing of those who pay it as far as Islam is concerned..”

    You are kidding right?

    Reply
  101. LouLou
    February 6, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    “You are kidding right?”

    Ok I am kidding. You be serious and help me out with this:

    1) The Quran says I can only wage war on people who transgress/attack me first.
    2) I have to make all Christians pay me jizya.

    How exactly do I make Christians pay me jizya without waging war on them? Do I knock on their doors and politely request that they cough up the tax they owe me because they’re Christians and I’m a Muslim?

    Reply
  102. LouLou
    February 6, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    “Islam does not exist because of reaffirmation of points from Christianity and Judaism.”

    Islam presents itself as a reaffirmation of previous Abrahamic messages. That is how it justifies it’s existence and that is what its followers believe. It’s not possibly to believe in Islam without believing that.

    “Does this explain why it is to be paid for hundreds of years, if that is how long a state should last? ”

    I think it’s wrong – and unQuranic- that the practice of jizya continued as long as it did. Perhaps, in the context of a religious state where each community was led by a its religious leaders and there was no concept of secular rule, it was difficult for Muslim rulers to dispense with jizya. Muslims had to pay zakat & several sadaqas – which was a religious obligation. Non-Muslims couldn’t be asked to pay zakat as it was described for Muslims in the Quran. But at the same time, it wasn’t possible to exempt them from taxation at all – especially when they were exempt from military service.

    The Islamic Caliphate itself was not a nation and there was no notion of citizenship. In modern times however, I don’t believe Muslims should be forced to pay religious taxes and neither should Christians. The state should charge everyone the same taxes. As a Muslim, I make sure I pay my zakat every year because I do believe it’s an Islamic obligation. But I don’t pay it to the state. I pay it to the charity of my choice and I wouldn’t accept the state interfering with what I see as a personal religious obligation. What I pay to the state should be the same tax that everyone else pays and it should have nothing to do with my religious beliefs.

    I’ll have to respond to the rest of your points in the morning. It’s late and I’m tired.

    Reply
  103. Red Tulips
    February 6, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    LouLou:

    I suggest you read the bible, and compare and contrast it with the Koran. See if what the Koran specifically refers to as bibical beliefs are in fact bibical beliefs. I will go out on a limb and say that some are, and some are not. Given that, while Muslims may see Islam as a reaffirmation of Christianity and Judaism, in reality, it forks off from these religions and does not reaffirm them. (as I noted, I am not saying the other religions are right, I am just saying that Islam simply does not build upon them as it claims it does)

    As far as your view of the jiyza, that’s certainly a nice view, but unfortunately, it does not explain the situation that existed during Muhammad’s time with the Jews of Khaybar. Why exactly were they paying a jiyza when they did not wage war upon Muhammad and the followers of Islam? The answer is clear: they were paying for “protection.” (“don’t attack me, I will pay you money instead”)

    Furthermore, you say that there should be a modern nation state system. I applaud that perspective, but doesn’t that contradict the calls for an Islamic state that in fact is seen in the Koran?

    And finally, shouldn’t history dictate some notion of what is considered Islamic? If throughout history the jiyza was paid as a form of “protection” and had little to do with war reparations, then shouldn’t that be considered when determining what is Islamic and what is not Islamic?

    Reply
  104. Red Tulips
    February 6, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Off topic:

    LouLou, you have a link on your website to porn. I believe that a porn site has hacked into your website. It is listed as “blogger hack” and comes up below the listing of recent comments. I accidentally clicked on it and it took me to a string of porn sites.

    Reply
  105. xoggoth
    February 6, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    I sympathise with the lady although cannot comment for purely technical reasons. (This PC refuses to connect to secure sites at the moment)

    But all this stuff about subtle meanings of mushrikeen and so on. Good grief! Why should women not be free to say I will marry whoever I damn well like! What a damn waste of the human intellect Islam is!

    Reply
  106. Lynn
    February 7, 2007 at 1:26 am

    The Quran At-Taubah
    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.

    30 The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah.s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

    Sounds almost like the “people of the book” are being called unbelievers there as well as those who are to show their submission with Jizya.

    Reply
  107. LouLou
    February 7, 2007 at 5:15 am

    Lynn,

    I’ve already addressed Surah AlTaubah in great detail in a previous comment.

    Red Tulips,

    “(as I noted, I am not saying the other religions are right, I am just saying that Islam simply does not build upon them as it claims it does)”

    Islam claims that it IS the last of a long string of Messages and that each new Message was revealed because the previous one got partially corrupted by human intervention. So each Message expands, reaffirms and corrects whatever might have become corrupt in the previous Messages. But it is essentially the same Divine Revelation all along from the first Prophet – who Muslims believe was Adam – to Mohamed – because it was revealed from the same God.

    That is at the core of Islamic belief. Whether you agree with it or the Bible agrees with it is an irrelevance here. The point is that Muslims agree with it – or they would be invalidating the core of the Quran – and they cannot agree with it and call followers of previous Revelations disbelievers at the same time. It doesn’t work.

    Reply
  108. LouLou
    February 7, 2007 at 5:22 am

    “I applaud that perspective, but doesn’t that contradict the calls for an Islamic state that in fact is seen in the Koran?”

    Seen in the Quran where?

    I wish you wouldn’t keep jumping from topic to topic this way. In one post you’ve asked about:

    1) The role of history in interpretation
    2) The Quranic form of state
    3) The story of the Jews of Medina
    4) The Quran’s relationship to the Bible etc…

    I mean, each one of these is a thesis in itself. Where do I start? I mean, I can’t spend ALL my time here typing out long replies to questions that keep exploding into other completely unrelated questions!

    Please try to limit the scope.

    Reply
  109. LouLou
    February 7, 2007 at 9:21 am

    “And finally, shouldn’t history dictate some notion of what is considered Islamic?”

    No. Our predecessors were people like us. They could be wrong or right. History should be studied as history – not as carved-in-stone, holy Scripture.

    Reply
  110. Lynn
    February 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Lou Lou,
    I know you addressed it:
    “Jizya is a tax to be levied on a vanquished enemy who launched an aggressive war and lost. A form of war reparations, if you will. Paying jizya is a political issue which does not have any impact on the theological standing of those who pay it as far as Islam is concerned..”

    I am pointing out that your great detail is an obvious whitewash. Which is fine, wonderful and good that you were raised to read the book in that way. However, it is what it is and I cannot see how you can read “until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. ” SUBDUED yet, the people of the book were respected and equals to the Muslims. You know that there was no need for war reparations, read the chapter on War Booty. But those slaves that were taken as war booty, they didn’t have to pay did they? And those tribes that paid their Jizya in advance? Without fighting a war?

    “History should be studied as history – not as carved-in-stone, holy Scripture.”

    You are right, but that is the ahadith right there. It is history that is used to create Islamic Law.

    Reply
  111. Red Tulips
    February 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    LouLou:

    Islam claims that Jews and Christians believe things that they do not believe. This proves that there are verses of the Koran that are proveably false. If you read a bible, you will see proof of where the Koran went wrong. Thus, Koranic literalism makes no sense as if even one line of a document is proven false, then the entire document is questionable.

    I already cited where the Koran says that the Jews believe Ezra is a God. This is an absolute falsity. If you were to read the bible, you will see it is a falsity. Another example is how the Koran is simply wrong about the Christian belief in the trinity. (Christians are not polytheists as they think Jesus is both the son of God and God at the same time) There are other verses where the Koran actually is flat out wrong about what Jews and Christians believe.

    On the other hand, as far as this analysis goes, we can forget about the fact that Islam also completely reinvents Monotheism (coming up with Ishmail instead of Isaac as the one that Abraham was attempting to sacrifice, as an example), as that can be explained away by saying that the texts of Judaism and Christianity are “corrupt.” However, this is proof that Islam is simply a different monotheistic religion and not a reaffirmation of a prior faith. I know Muslims like to see themselves as the next revelation, but by completely rewriting the script (and then actually being wrong about what the other religions actually believe), this is logically impossible.

    In short, Muslims can believe in Koranic literalism, but I do not see the sense in believing in a document that is supposed to be literally true when it already has been proven in places to be false. If, on the other hand, you want to say the Koran is NOT literally true, that is a different story.

    As far as everything else…the bottom line is that if Muhammad himself did not limit the jiyza as a recompense for war crimes (and in fact let Jews and Christians pay a jiyza in order to avoid war), then clearly the jiyza is paid protection, and not some sort of payment for war crimes. This is what it was interpreted as since the dawn of Islam. Your interpretation, while it sounds nice, does not gel with the entirety of Islamic history, nor Muhammad’s own actions. Is it possible to interpret the Koran to say that only war crimes justify a jiyza? I don’t see how, as that is not what is cited as the justification for a jiyza in the Koran, but even if you did think that, this is counteracted by Muhammad’s actions, and Muhammad was supposed to be the perfect man.

    As far as an Islamic state – much of the Koran is dedicated to explaining how such a state should be governed! Certainly the Koran does not say “every Muslim must live in an Islamic state,” but the Koran does speak to waging war upon nonbelievers for offenses to Islam (without exactly explaining what an offense to Islam is – is looking at a Muslim the wrong way an offense?), and THEN setting up an Islamic state. If Muhammad was supposed to be the perfect man, then since he set up an Islamic state, one would think that this is clearly the ideal state (though I don’t believe only acceptable state) for Muslims.

    Reply
  112. LouLou
    February 7, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    “As far as an Islamic state – much of the Koran is dedicated to explaining how such a state should be governed! Certainly the Koran does not say “every Muslim must live in an Islamic state,” but the Koran does speak to waging war upon nonbelievers for offenses to Islam (without exactly explaining what an offense to Islam is – is looking at a Muslim the wrong way an offense?), and THEN setting up an Islamic state. ”

    No it doesn’t. The Quran speaks of waging war against anyone who wages war first – regardless of religion. There are verses that even call for waging war against a Muslim community if it commits offences against other Muslim communities. I could provide you with references but the reason I won’t is because despite the fact that you can’t stop talking about the evils of ‘literal Quran’ everytime I ask you to back up one of your grievances against the Quran, you either quote verses out of context or you start reaching for examples from the Sunna or from history. So you yourself can’t prove any of your points from the literal Quran alone. And neither can the Jihadists.

    Reply
  113. Red Tulips
    February 7, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    LouLou:

    No, the Koran does not say to wage war upon those who have actually declared war first. It is much fuzzier than that. We have to remember that the Koran was written at a time and place where tribes were basically ruling – it’s not like there were nations who formally declared war on each other. Muhammad’s own actions bely that, and again, lest we forget, Muhammad was the “perfect man.” The question is not “was there a formal declaration of war?” The question is “what is considered enough of an act of aggression against Muslims to be considered a war against Islam/Muslims?”

    Moreover, I already showed how the Koran is literally wrong in places, and yet you still say that somehow Koranic literalism is great.

    I showed how a “believer” was actually defined, in the Koran, as someone who says there is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet. Thus, yes, Jews and Christians are Kafir, as they received revelations and then “perverted” them and “covered up the truth.” I agree with Lynn that the Koran does not explicitly say that dhimmis are not Kafir, but I think Islamic history pretty much considers them as such, considering that dhimmis are submitting to the superiority of Islam over their lives.

    I further showed that the jiyza in fact was paid to Muhammad and his followers by Jews who paid it in order to avoid war. They did not wage war upon Muhammad and his followers, they did not commit offenses, but rather paid simply for “protection.” (i.e., “don’t fight me, here’s money!”)

    If Muhammad was supposed to be the perfect man, then his example clearly shows that you are wrong, flat out wrong, about the jiyza. Or, of course, you could say Muhammad was not the perfect man, or his actions should not be literally followed. This is a different story, and only this is real reform of Islam.

    Does the Koran say “Muslims, you are required to turn whatever state you are living in, even if it is a Kafir state, into an Islamic state”?

    Answer: No, of course not, and I would never said it does.

    The Koran was written at a time when Muhammad was preaching directly to a specific group of followers. It didn’t quite anticipate a worldwide ummah, where some Muslims would be living in Islamic states, and some would not.

    But what is considered a legitimate grounds for war under Islam? Answer: That is a very tough question, and one that could fill thousands of pages even attempting an answer. I do not think the Koran or any Islamic documents are clear on this. And this absolutely does leave room for Jihadists to claim there are grounds for a global jihad. It also leaves room for moderates to claim “No! The only jihad should be the jihad to be a better person! The West has NOT acted in aggression against Islam, and in fact, we should be working with the West!”

    And so yes, there is room for moderates in that respect. But there is also room for jihadists. And even the moderates have to contend with a religion that, if taken literally, is wrong in places, calls for a system of dhimmitude, treats women as second class citizens, does not exactly treat apostates kindly, and of course is not exactly friendly to gays, either. That’s literal Islam. This is not a ‘moderate’ faith. But it also is not necessarily a faith that necessarily calls for a global Jihad.

    So how can moderation happen? First, moderates have to call an end to global Jihad, which can be accomplished with and without Koranic literalism. Secondly, in order for modern and egalitarian Islamic states to exist, reformers must call an end to Koranic literalism.

    Reply
  114. LouLou
    February 8, 2007 at 5:51 am

    Red Tulips,

    Another long comment filled with references to history and no Quranic content.

    There’s a point at which we seem to clash mentally and can’t seem to get past. In my part of the world, Islam is traditionally and historically Sufi. The vast majority of North Africans while considering themselves nominally Sunnis – actually belong to 3 or 4 Sufi Orders.

    We are not brought up to believe that we use the Sunna to explain the Quran. It’s the other way around. Anything in the Sunna that contradicts the Quran is to be disregarded as false. If there is historical evidence of it then we consider it evidence of wrongdoing by predecessors.

    So before we even look at Sunna or anything else – WE FIRST ESTABLISH THE QURAN’s position on an issue. Everything else is measured against that. For example, if Bukhari says the Prophet said something that contradicts the Quran, we don’t doubt the Quran. We doubt Bukhari.

    If we don’t understand something in the Quran, THEN we look at Sunna and history to see how others dealt with the same dilemma in the hope that their experience will provide some guidance. But we don’t look at it as Scripture that we’re obligated to follow. It’s just like anyone else telling you their story of how they dealt with a situation. It might give you some good ideas or you might think it’s inapplicable to your situation.

    So your insistence on pointing me to the Sunna in order to prove something you say about the Quran simply goes against my beliefs. The word of God is supposed to stand on its own two feet. We refer the Sunna to the Quran. Never the other way around. That would be blasphemy.

    Sufi interpretations of the Quran also don’t consider themselves ‘literal’ at all. Not in the sense you mean. We see Quranic mythology(in addition to Biblical mythology) as stories God uses as Scripture to give us examples and illustrate certain principles. It’s like a parent with 2 children making up bedtime stories to teach them that lying is wrong. So if the parent tells sibling 1 a story with different details from sibling 2, it doesn’t matter. The story is still the same because the principles being taught are still the same.

    The mythology of all 3 Abrahamic faiths(such as the story of Mary) can be traced to some pre-Islamic, Middle Eastern cultures like the Phoenicians, ancient Egyptians, ancient Persians or the Mesopotomians – which have similar stories with partially different details as the story moves from culture to culture and time passes.

    Reply
  115. LouLou
    February 8, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Red Tulips,

    “Secondly, in order for modern and egalitarian Islamic states to exist, reformers must call an end to Koranic literalism.”

    I find this amusing. Those people who think there are two groups in Islam: extremists and reformers. It’s all so black and white to you isn’t it?

    Islam means something different from this town to the next. There are dozens of sects and schools of thought out there. Some are cultural interpretations – by people whose idea of conversion to Islam was simply giving their Pre-Islamic saints Arabic names and continuing as before. They have their own sunna, their own seerah, their own stories about the Prophet and his disciples and his wives. Their customs and rulings vary accordingly.

    Then you have political interpretations – which came into place because of certain political divides like the Shia-Sunna divide. Do you think Shia and Sunna recognize the same hadith sources?Do you think they accept the same narrators as legitimate?To the Shia, the people Sunnis consider the Prophet’s closest Companions and disciples are nothing but impostors with political aspirations who cheated the Prophet’s descendants out of their right to rule.

    Then there are Sufis – who were incidentally largely responsible for the spread of Islam in places like Africa and Indonesia, Turkey and Central Asia. The frame of reference they use is entirely different. Wahabism came into existence with destroying the influence of Islamic mysticism as one of its stated objectives

    So before you decide to reform Islam, you first have to decide what Islam is. You have to get everyone to agree on that. Then you can start defining what is wrong or right with it. Which is not an easy task. Because you will find that ‘liberalism’ and extremism are not all on one side, that everyone has some share of both. So for example you might find some Shia sects extremely tolerant on points some Sunnis are rigid about while the reverse might be true in another issue. The same difference can exist between two Sunni subsects or two Shia subsects. And there are dozens of those.

    The only thing all these people really have in common is the Quran. And even then they all read it in radically different ways.

    Islam is not – and never was – a monolithic religion. The lack of a clergy has meant historically that virtually anyone can come up with his own interpretation and if he can convince enough people to follow it, it becomes an official sect. One hundred years later – if the sect has managed to survive politically – the descendants of the early followers are calling the founder the Grand Imam or something – and they’re referring to his words and deeds more than to Mohamed’s. Why? Because then they trust HIM to tell them what Mohamed said or did and they don’t listen to anyone or anything else.

    Rather than embark on some grand experiment of reforming Islam – which I am sure – will result in nothing so much as endless war between Muslims while they fight over what Islam is.

    I prefer that each Islamic country should concentrate on reforming itself – economically, scientifically, politically. They should encourage tolerance and find whatever local practices they have that they have acquired over the ages and deal with those. This is why I have always had greater respect for local and national reform activists than for people who waste their time and ours dreaming about reforming a mythical Umma which never existed because the differences between Muslims have always been greater than what they had in common.

    There’s nothing sadder and funnier than an Egyptian or a Saudi Sheikh trying to tell Senegalis or Brunei Muslims how they should live their lives – when he doesn’t speak their language or know anything about their history or culture or religious beliefs.

    Reply
  116. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    LouLou:

    I am glad you do not consider the Sunnah to be authoritative, BUT, that is simply not the case for the vast majority of Muslims in the world, Sunni and Shia. I am also glad that you do not believe in Koranic literalism and are considered Sufi, and generally the problem with terrorism today is not from the Sufis, but rather the Sunni and Shia. And yet the Sunni and Shia are also Muslim and do believe in Koranic literalism.

    Moreover, I already explained that Chapter 9 of the Koran does not lay out exactly what the parameters for war are. The bottom line is that someone need to have in some way hurt Islam first, and then Muslims are authorized to strike back with a full vengeance. Even if you do not look at the Sunnah, that itself authorizes violence without giving much guidance. As I explained, it is not clear what constitutes harming Islam in any way. If I bump into a Muslim guy, am I harming him? Should I then be killed for this, as the Kafir I am? And so yes, there are Sufi terrorists in the world, even if the big terror organizations are Sunni and Shia. (Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Al Queda, the nation of Iran, Jemaah Islamiyah – none are Sufi or linked with Sufism, as far as I know)

    Which brings me back to the point I made earlier about Reform. If Islam (and by Islam, I mean any religion that follows the Koran) is to reform and stamp out Islamic terrorism, then there must be some sort of understanding that the West is simply not at war with Islam and did not bring on any fight. Only then will the wide support Islamic terrorism receives in many circles of the world start to lessen and die out. This itself is a reform of thought.

    As far as women’s rights, dhimmi rights, treatment of gays, overall human rights…this is of secondary importance to me. Of primary importance is to END TERRORISM. While the Koran isn’t exactly kind to notions of human rights (as I already pointed out in many places), ultimately that is of little concern to me. Maybe one day there will be some sort of political, social, and economic reform of the Islamic world. But all I ask is to stop the killing in the meantime.

    Reply
  117. LouLou
    February 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Red Tulips,

    “The bottom line is that someone need to have in some way hurt Islam first, and then Muslims are authorized to strike back with a full vengeance.”

    From Chapter 9:

    [9:13] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

    That’s not ‘hurting Islam’. That’s commencing hostilities against living, breathing people. Seems clear enough to me.

    And Red Tulips, if all Sunnis and all Shia believed what you say, you’d have several hundred million terrorists on your hands. That you don’t should indicate to you that all Sunnis and all Shia are not as monolithic as you think either. I would have thought that was elementary.

    The PLO was an entirely secular organization and yet they still commited acts of terror. The regimes of Nasser or Assad or Saddam are all rabidly secular to the point where they’ve all committed massive abuses of human rights against anyone who even looked religious. And yet they were all no less hostile to the West than Bin Laden. How much influence did Quranic literalism or lack thereof have on these people? Not much. Religion is an irrelevance as far as the Nasserists or the Baathists are concerned.

    The Middle East has been a pressure cooker for a long, long time. It’s problems are very complex. History, geography, geopolitics, economics, education, nothing works in the ME. Religion is just one element. It’s naive to think that re-writing a book from the 7th Century will make all these problems miraculously disappear.

    Reply
  118. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    LouLou:

    The fact that there have been and are forces in the Arab world that are violent and also not espousing Islamic fundamentalism does not negate the danger of Islamic fundamentalism. You know this. I know this. It’s silly that somehow you are denying this.

    You also are of course ignoring the rest of Chapter 9 of the Koran. Yes, war is justified if a nonMuslim abrogates a treaty. But what constitutes an abrogation of a treaty? Moreover, war is allowed once these treaties expire. So this is not much help. And then of course, this does not address those who have not entered treaties with Muhammad. And so there is the crux of the matter.

    I do not see any clarity at all with regards to when war can and should be fought, given that.

    Reply
  119. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    I want to add that Saddam actually did support Islamic fundamentalists, towards the end of his tenure. Syria is now supporting the Islamic fundamentalist Hizballah.

    And so it is not as if “arab nationalists” cannot also be tied to Islamic fundamentalists.

    Reply
  120. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Sorry, one last thing. I never said that all Muslims follow the Koran. Many are ignorant of the Koran and Islamic history. Moreover, many Muslims have knowledge of the Koran, but willfully ignore such knowledge, and prefer to live secular lives. Certainly the ummah is not a monolith, and I never said it was.

    But Koranic literalists…well…I do not see how one can live a modern life and also be a Koranic literalist, at the very least. And given the fact that there are imams across the world saying that the West has in fact waged war upon Islam (which is a lie, but it’s what they are saying), if you combine that with Koranic literalism, it is not pleasant.

    Reply
  121. LouLou
    February 8, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Red Tulips,

    “It’s silly that somehow you are denying this”

    There is a tremendous sense of grievance in the ME against the West and it’s not tied to religion – meaning not only religious people feel it. So you are being silly when you act like it comes because one day they opened a book and read it and ended up hating the West. And this is why any political movement – religious or otherwise – that the ME produces is anti-West.

    It has reasons like a century of Western colonialism, followed by perceived Western backing for unpopular regimes and the fact that these regimes spent decades stifling freedom of expression and exposing their people to nothing but negativity and tirades against the outside world and the West in an effort to cover up their own short-comings. All of these factors together contributed to the culture of conspiracy theories and blaming the Other for our own problems.

    Trying to tie Saddam to Islamism ideologically is silly. The fact that he sent some money to Hamas in an effort to exploit a popular Arab cause at a time when he was isolated and desperate for allies was an act of cheap political opportunism. It doesn’t change the fact that the ideology of Baathism is rabidly anti-religious or that he did nothing but persecute all Islamists – even non-political, peaceful religious people in his own country throughout his entire tenure. His connection to Hamas wasn’t the Quran. It was their animousity to the West and Israel. And that really is the only connection between Arab nationalism with its Communist undertones and Islamic extremism.

    Reply
  122. LouLou
    February 8, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Red Tulips,

    Again From Chapter 9 (Surah Al-Taubah):

    “[9:13] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers. ”

    That’s what constitutes breaking a treaty. Plotting to turn out the Messenger and being the first to commence hostilites against you. So clearly a treaty that says you can’t turn me out and you can’t commence hostilities against me is a treaty of non-aggression.

    Treaties of non-aggression are not usually signed between allies are they? They are signed when there is some kind of military dispute.

    As for those who have not signed such a treaty because there is no dispute, they are addressed in other places – not Surah Al-Taubah which states in its opening statement that it’s addressed ONLY to those with whom there is a dispute and a treaty.

    “[9:1] This is a declaration of complete vindication on the part of Allah and His Messenger to those of the idolaters with whom you have signed a treaty.”

    Now thank you for an interesting discussion even if we couldn’t come to a meeting of the minds. But it has taken up all my blogging time over the last week or so. I miss my blog so I am going to let things rest at that.

    As a general rule, I can take this kind of argument in very small doses. However, if I ever feel like a theological debate again, I’ll raise the issue on my blog and let you know.

    Reply
  123. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    LouLou:

    Let’s understand a few things. Firstly, the history of Islam is one of Islamic imperialism, followed by slow decline and defeat. That is the ultimate, broad-brush stroked history of Islam. At the height of the Caliphate, Europe was in the midst of its Middle Ages, and so from a comparative fashion, the Islamic Caliphate was the height of learning and knowledge. Of course, this was also because of the conquest of the Byzantine and Indian Empires, and the resultant scholars who were captured as dhimmis. That is not to say that Muslims did not make their own contributions, but it is important to note that pre-Islamic Arabia was not exactly known for its contributions to the world of science, art, and learning. The Koran, after all, did not magically give Arabian Muslims knowledge of math, science and art out of thin blue sky. Muslims are proud of this history, and they should be. However, they (and by they, I mean the majority, though not all) refuse to acknowledge the very real contributions to their culture from the dhimmis. In short, this history is also the source of the problems.

    What is the proof that Islam is right? The ultimate proof Muhammad gave was that he won battles. This was the ultimate proof of the “truth” of Islam. (angels supposedly helped Muhammad and the Muslims fight these battles) And so, when Muslims lose battles, and when their civilization declines and falls…one of three reasons must be attributed to it. a) Muslims lost because they are not “Islamic” enough, and not worthy of winning. (thus, more fundamentalism is the answer) b) Muslims lost because they were vanquished by supernatural forces. (aka, Jews and Christians really are “apes and pigs,” or subhuman, or superhuman, and the like) c) Muslims lost because they were not prepared in battle, didn’t have the right skills to win, the other side was more prepared, etc etc etc. (the last reason is rational)

    But the problem with accepting the LAST reason as a reason for defeat is that this also partially revokes the foundation of Islam, which was “proven” correct through Muhammad’s victory in battle. Thus, admitting defeat is not really an option. Of course, for some people, it is an option. Sandmonkey, or instance, is fine with accepting Israel and admitting the existence of reality.

    But please note that the rise of the forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” all sorts of blood libels, and Hitler-esque lies about the Jews started when Jews started becoming successful in what was then Palestine. Decades prior to the State of Israel becoming a reality, Jews were making the desert bloom. And Hajj Amin Al Husseini (the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Arafat’s mentor) was not happy. So he worked with the Nazis in order to elliminate the Jews. Link about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Amin_al-Husayni

    It should be noted that the PLO hence has its roots in not only Nazism, but also a mufti who was most certainly NOT secular.

    I also wanted to note that the Ba’ath party too has Nazi foundations. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/baath.html

    Actually, the “secular” pan-Arabist movements has very extensive ties to Nazism. I do not know if you are aware of this, but it is a historical fact. This is partly why I am probably one of the few Jews who prefers Hamas to Fatah, as Hamas is openly genocidal, while Fatah pretends to be “moderate,” but really is a (literally) Nazi organization with roots in the Third Reich.

    In short, the problem here is accepting defeat, more than anything. The problem is Arab pride. But Islam as a religion is one that reinforces Arab pride, as it is an Arabian religion that is steeped in the Bedouin culture.

    And of course, another huge problem is hypocrisy. Islamic expansionism and imperialism is totally cool…but when the West defeats Islam, it is seen as a sort of abomination…with no similar indictment for what Muslims had done in prior years throughout history and even today. (this is more of a leftist problem, but many Western Muslims use this as their excuse for their anger)

    And so, there is this yearning for a past that never quite was, and for the humiliation of the kafir and mushrikeen that ironically helped to create the very Islamic Caliphate that is being hailed as the height of world civilization.

    Does Islamism play into this all as part of the problem? Absolutely. Have ‘secular’ Arabs also been causing problems? Yes, but you have to look at why they are espousing what they are espousing, and the roots of their discontent.

    These roots are in Arab Pride, and the roots of this are in Islamic history, the roots of THAT being in the Bedouin culture.

    And so what is necessary to change all this? Will changing a book be enough? I agree with you, LouLou, absolutely not. The roots of the problem here are much, much, greater. But it’s clear that that little book, the Koran, is also feeding into the problem. Of course, there could be two kinds of Muslims…

    One type of Muslim live his life by the sword and values tribalism and conquest. For such a Muslim, the “proof” of Islam being correct is seen in the conquests of Muhammad. For this type of Muslim, any sort of defeat cannot ever be accepted, and Islamic terrorism naturally will be the “cure” for what is plaguing his society. The Koran, if literally taken, does justify these thoughts, but the problem is not with the Koran, but that mentality to begin with.

    Another type of Muslim does not value violence as a normative matter (simply in the values such a person was raised with), and hence doesn’t see the “proof” of Islam being correct in Muhammad’s victory in battle. Rather, the “proof” would be from what Muhammad made extra dates appear for a little girl, and whatnot. These people will still go out of their way to find peaceful interpretations of Islam, because they are peaceful by nature. However, it is my contention that the religion of Islam is not peaceful by nature, and that it requires work to actually get to these interpretations. It is rather these people who are peaceful by nature. This explains why there actually are peaceful Muslims out there. (I don’t deny that and never did!)

    In short, LouLou, thinking about it, I think you have a point that the overall problem is Arab culture, not the religion of Islam. However, as I noted, Islam, being an Arabian religion, feeds into this culture.

    Why, however, are so many young Muslims turning to extremism? I think the answer is Arab oil money. Who is funding many of these mosques? Answer: Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is funding mosques and schools and imparting their harsh Bedouin culture upon generations of young Muslims, across the world.

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2006576,00.html

    The ultimate way to de-radicalize Muslims is to take away the money supply for their radicalism. This means finding alternative energy sources and not relying on oil as we do.

    Reply
  124. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    One more thing I should say.

    LouLou, you did not address what happens when the terms offered by Muslims in a treaty between nations is not fair or just, and that is the reason for not entering into a treaty.

    Reply
  125. Red Tulips
    February 8, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    One last thing, because it is the source of modern day Jihadism.

    “[9:13] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers. ”

    What does it mean to be the “first to commence hostilities”? This is a question that has no easy answer. Is it hostile to have bases in Saudi Arabia, as America does? Osama Bin Ladin seems to think so.

    And so we get back to the two types of Muslims. The type of Muslim who values war will agree that America’s actions constituted the commencement of hostilities. The type of Muslim who values peace will NOT agree with that notion.

    So more than anything else, I think there needs to be a change in values.

    In conclusion, LouLou, I think we both have won this debate.

    You have made me realize that the problem is one of values more than the Koran, and I now am more convinced than ever that the Koran, if taken literally, justifies the actions of the jihadists if they value war.

    Reply
  126. Karen
    February 8, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Red Tulips,
    I have been following the discussion and just want to jump in and say that you are right about the link between money (oil) and the successful radicalization of muslims. I would love to have the opportunity to NOT support the Saudis and everyone else who are resposnsible for the murders of tens of thousands of civillians around the globe. But where can I buy terror free gasoline? With that in mind check out this link.

    http://www.terrorfreeoil.org

    Reply
  127. LouLou
    February 9, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Red Tulips,

    “However, they (and by they, I mean the majority, though not all) refuse to acknowledge the very real contributions to their culture from the dhimmis.”

    The contribution to the culture from dhimmis?You do realize don’t you that the majority of today’s Muslims are descendants of dhimmis? Especially Middle Eastern Muslims. Most of them have Christian or Jewish(or both) ancestors who converted to Islam. Iranians descend from Zoroastrians who were granted dhimmi status under Islamic rule and later converted to Islam. So it’s not like the dhimmis who contributed to Islamic civilization are completely seperate from today’s Muslims.

    And Middle Eastern Arabs are not just proud of the Islamic contributions to human civilization. You will find Egyptians fiercely proud of their ancient Pharoanic civilization. And Iraqis take pride in Mesopotomian and Babylonian civilization. Same for the Levant Arabs who consider themselves the heirs of the ancient civilizations of that area(Phoenician, Cananite, Philistine etc…). And Iranians are the ancient Persians. No one can deny the contribution of Persian civilization. Or Indian civilization -from which the Muslims in the subcontinent descended. Or Chinese civilization – to which Muslims in China and Indonesia and Malaysia are tied culturally.

    True, the Bedouin Arabs don’t have much of a contribution. But what percentage of today’s Muslims are Bedouin Arabs by blood?10%?20%?I doubt it’s even that much – given the fact that Arab-speaking people in general(ethnic Arabs as well as people who consider themselves Arabs by culture or language but not ethnicity) constitute only a small minority of the world’s Muslims. I say that even though I AM a Bedouin Arab by blood. My father’s family claims descendancy from the Prophet. But we are in the minority in Morroco. Ethnic Arabs are a small minority in most countries which consider themselves Arab by culture and language today.

    THAT is the major clash between Middle Eastern nationalists and Islamists. Islamists insist on condemning all our pre-Islamic history and culture as Jahiliya or the Age of Ignorance. They see nationalism and patriotism as a form of idolatory. They believe a Muslim should see himself as Muslim only and have no other identity or loyalty. To them all nationalist movements are apostates. This is why ALL nationalist movements in the region had to borrow their ideology from European nationalist movements and were thus mostly secular.

    Reply
  128. Red Tulips
    February 9, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    LouLou:

    If in fact Assad, Hussein, and Arafat couched their phrase in exclusively nationalistic terms, you would have a point. However, these people pretended to be “Pan arabist,” whether they were or were not. The “Palestinian cause,” as an example, is used as a rallying cry for ALL Muslims in the Muslim world.

    But yes, I agree about the greatness of the Persian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian civilizations. Perhaps if the “nationalists” actually cared about these civilizations, you would have a point. But they don’t. There is never a call to return to the greatness of ancient Persia or ancient Egypt. If there was, then perhaps people like Assad, Arafat, etc, would not be the threats they are.

    The Arab nationalist movements have its roots explicitly in Nazism, and that is the bottom line. It does not have roots in ancient Persia or Egypt.

    Reply
  129. LouLou
    February 10, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Red Tulips,

    “Perhaps if the “nationalists” actually cared about these civilizations, you would have a point.”

    I think you need to read more about nationalists movements in the Middle East. Their history, their literature, their speeches, their ideology etc….I cannot keep correcting this kind of misconception for you. I don’t have the patience or the time. Do your own research.

    To condemn all Arab nationalists as Nazis sounds hysterical and vaguely fascist to me. Arabs – like everyone else – have a right to their patriotism and their national aspirations – provided it doesn’t encroach on the rights of other people.

    And if you don’t want us to be Islamists OR nationalists what exactly do you want us to be?

    Reply
  130. Red Tulips
    February 10, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    LouLou:

    Perhaps you have to do some reading of history. It is a fact that most of the “Arab nationalists” you cite literally are linked with Nazis. Not figuratively. People forget that, what is called modern “Arab nationalism” is actually just an extension of Nazism. It is different from Islamism, but just as the European Nazis took much of their motivation (and couched their language) from the preexisting Christian culture, these “Arab nationalists” do the same with the Islamic culture.

    Let me make this chrystal clear: few Europeans today would call Nazis “European nationalists,” but the Nazis themselves call themselves the National Socialist Party. They saw themselves as “nationalists,” but Europeans (and citizens of the world) begged to differ. Why are you actually pretending that somehow Saddam or Arafat are “Arab nationalists” when really they are as “nationalist” as Hitler was? And no, I am not “exaggerating” here. It is the same ideology.

    The ideal would be to take pride in the greatness of the Egyptian, Persian, and Babylonian civilizations. These were some of the greatest civilizations in the world. And yes, the Islamic Caliphate, by being relatively tolerant towards dhimmis, compared with the surrounding civilizations, also was one of the great civilizations in the world.

    Take pride in this, and seek to build upon it, modernize, take what was good, what worked, and seek ways to bring it to the modern age. That would be the ideal. These are real Arab nationalists.

    The so-called “Arab nationalists” of Saddam and Arafat were not and are not really Arab nationalists, but rather destroyers of the worst order. They are enemies to any civilized people.

    And so, if one wanted to get technical, one of the responses to the Nazism of “Arab nationalists” (which also does have links to Islam, but certainly its ideology does not center around Islam) has been Islamism, which has shown to be as great or greater a threat as “Arab nationalism.” Just look at the fight between Hamas and Fatah. Can one really tell the difference between them nowadays? Can one really tell the difference between the hatred towards civilization exhibited by the Ayatollah, and by Saddam? And this blending of hatred is perhaps perfectly exhibited in what Osama Bin Ladin says – couching his hate in both Islam and “pan-Arabism.” Nowadays, these two ideologies have become so blended, it is hard to tell who is the “pan-Arabist” and who is the Islamist.

    In short: both ideologies are destructive. So how do you build a unique and modern culture in the Mideast that is not merely a copy of the West> The only answer is to look to ancient Persia, Babylonia, and Egypt, as well as the Caliphate, and be inspired by the greatness rather than brutality of these civilizations. (make no mistake about it, these civilizations also were brutal and practiced beheadings and the like)

    But also realize…this is one world, and the West would not be anywhere without the influence of the Fertile Crescent, Persia, Egypt, etc. Ultimately, while there are many differences, there are also many similarities. It’s a shame the world seems more caught up in the differences.

    Reply
  131. LouLou
    February 11, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Red Tulips,

    Again, you need to do research. Arab nationalism is not Saddam and Arafat. Saddam and Arafat are politicians. Arab nationalism is the belief in the independance and a secular union of all Arab-speaking peoples. 90% of all Arab-speaking peoples believe in that – not because they’re Nazis – because they do feel a strong tie of geography, culture and language to other Arab-speaking peoples. That is IT.

    Again to call people Nazis just because of that is an indication of rising hysteria – nothing more.

    Reply
  132. Red Tulips
    February 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    LouLou:

    What I am saying is that the leaders of the “Arab nationalists” are Nazis. Whether all individual Arabs who believe in Arab nationalism believe in it as Nazis or because of Nazis is a different story.

    Reply
  133. Red Tulips
    February 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    And make no mistake, LouLou – I mean literal Nazis, linked with the Third Reich. You will find this out if you do some research on the subject.

    Reply
  134. Red Tulips
    February 12, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    One last thing for real, LouLou…

    I am not saying that the theory of Arab nationalism is inherently evil or linked with Nazism. However, the leaders of the “Arab nationalists movement in fact are linked with Nazis. This is just a fact of life. And it is not like there is a very strong alternative to these leaders in he “Arab nationalist” movement.

    My hope is that things will soon change.

    Reply
  135. Joe
    February 20, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    I admit, I have not read every single post in detail, but I have brushed through the many of the main points. Sadly, you all have failed to address the issue at hand and that is to answer the question for Carmen.

    Carmen, contact a scholar of Islam, and he/she will give you the correct answer. “Al-isnaadu min a din” – evidence is from religion. This means that in Islam we act based on authentic evidences (i.e. the Quran, Prophetic traditions, and anaolgy that is linked to either of the 2), not on whimisical desires. When you need to get your car fixed, don’t take it to a baker (sounds too simple, I know). So use analogy, contact a religious scholar or even a Fatwa webpage like Islam Online if you need to understand the fiqh of marriage in islam. There are volumes, and I mean volumes wrriten in this area.

    There is 1400 years of scholary work in the area of Islamic Law (Fiqh). None of it is based on opinion. I am sorry if any of you have a problem with 1400 years of scholaraly work just because it does not make sense to you. 85% of what I read in this post was inacurate, so this may be why. You are drawing conclusions about baseball after interviewing a basketball player. Many of the questions have clear, simple answers, yet you deduce all sorts of rubbish. I am not a scholar of islam, but a devout muslim and I always refer to scholar when I have question the needs to be answered. This is not limited to Islamic Law, but also to issues like Heatlh … i don’t diagnose my own diseases by internet research, I go to visit my Doctor. When you do not know the answer to something or disagree with an opinion you have read, you always contact a scholar, this is from the Quran and from prophetic guidance. Can anyone find the verses in the Quaran that prove this? From porphetic tradition?. Just remember, just because you can search an e-copy of an english translation of the Quaran, does not make you an expert in its contents. Read it, listen to its recitation, it will move you.

    May Allah(God) grant you his divine guidance. And to all others, my appologies for any insulting remarks, I ask Allah (God) to forgive me if I have said anything wrong.

    Joe.

    Reply
  136. Red Tulips
    February 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Joe,

    Why does Carmen need an Islamic scholar to okay her marriage? Shouldn’t it be up to her?

    Why should a book of arbitrary rules dictate what she does? Because if you base life on those arbitrary rules, then guess what? The rules are pretty clear in what they say, and how they wouldn’t allow her marriage.

    But why should that matter? She lives in AMERICA, not Saudi Arabia. She should do what she wants according to secular rules, and not have to justify herself according to Islamic edicts, nor should she fool herself into believing the Islamic edicts say what they don’t say.

    Reply
  137. Joe
    March 1, 2007 at 6:25 am

    First of all, the islamic scholar is not OKing or not OKing her marriage. He/She (and yes, there are many female islamic scholars) would give her advice on what is Halal (permissible) and Haram (forbidden) with respect to laws in islam (i.e. Islamic scholars and Jurists). The Law maker in Islam is God. So, if she, as a professed muslim who belives is the five pillars of islam and the tenants of the muslim faith (i.e. not picking and choosing as deemed necessary), if she or any other muslim do not have the skills required to search the Quaran and tradtions (hadith) in order to determine what islamic law says about her situation, then she should consult someone who does. This is actually not rocket science, we do this everyday in our lives because, believe it or not, we’re not know it alls!

    The misconception here is that the scholar is deciding for her. She makes her own decision because on the day of judgement, she will be held accountable in front of God so she has to make the descision for herself. And she must believe this if she muslim.

    Similarly, living in America, one would consult a lawer when purchasing a business in order ensure compliance, otherwise, one risks financial loss. Of course, you can make what ever decision you want, who cares, right? Why do I have to consult a lawyer, I’ll just do what I want coz I feel like it. Important to note in this example is that you are an “American” citizen which means you have signed up to the laws in the constitution, not the ones the scribbled on the back of your bedroom door.

    Also, the “I am not going to ask mommy and daddy if I can go to the party because they are going to say NO” theme is quite immature. And just because you think she knows the answer and dislikes it, does not make it arbitrary. Have you ever read or studied the Quran? Your statement about arbitrary rules is so wrong. Ask any NON-MUSLIM Islamic Scholar and they will even tell you that. Please, post an example of an “arbitrary rule” that we can discuss. I am also sorry to advise you that your secular “rules” are actually much more arbitrary. Ask any Lawyer and you are guaranteed to a get a list arbitrary laws that exist in your modern day constitution.

    Also, Islam does not = Saudi Arabia, just as Christianity does not = US. I recommended that she speak to an Islamic scholar, not to Saudi official or a member of the Saudi Royal family, these are 2 completely different things. Did you know that Arabs constitute only 12% of Muslims and that the Arab world is from Morocco to the Saudi? So, yeah, I agree with you, she should not listen to Saudi’s, but then again who advised her to do that?

    And the thing about edicts … once again, if you sign up it means you believe it, and if you don’t understand it you don’t fool yourself into believing that it is wrong, you ask some who has knowledge of it. I’m sorry, I have to bring this up again, but if we think within the framework in Islam (so even if you do not believe in it, live the box for a second) how could you toss out 1400 years of scholarly work because you think something does say what it supposed to say? That’s like telling math professor that 1+1 does not equal 2, just because you don’t understand it.

    If you have any specific inquiries about Islam, please feel free to submit a question at islamonline.net. This is a good source for seeking legal counsel (i.e. according to Islamic law)

    I realize my tone is far from ideal, so please forgive me for that. I don’t blame you for your ignorance of Islam. This is the fault of the Muslim community. We need to do a better job educating our fellow citizens about us. We are not the savage, ignorant, wife beating, fanatic, extremist, Christian and Jew hating, anti democracy, jihadists that CNN portrays us to be. Quite the opposite.

    Thanks for your response.

    Reply
  138. Red Tulips
    March 12, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Joe,

    I guess where we differ is that I believe the Koran is arbitrary, and so any ruling or interpretation based on the Koran, whether it is completely in line with the Koran or not, is hence arbitrary. I already explained in great detail exactly how and why I view the Koran as arbitrary.

    Thank you for your cordiality,

    Red Tulips

    Reply
  139. Joe
    March 14, 2007 at 1:20 am

    I appreciate your frankness and honestly. I also reckognize and agree that foundationaly we differ.

    I wish you all the best Red Tulips.

    Joe

    Reply

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