The Two Faces of Islam

Many years ago, Steve Emerson produced a documentary for PBS. The video was titled “Jihad in America.” Its cameras went directly inside cell groups associated with mosques where eager young Muslims were being actively recruited for jihad against the U.S.

It showed Muslim leaders making wicked statements about bringing America to its knees through terrorism. One of them said:

Blood must flow, there must be widows [and] orphans. Hands and limbs must be severed and limbs and blood must be spread everywhere in order that Allah’s religion stands on its feet.”

As I type this, this religion of Allah is stands menacingly over the corpses of thousands of Christians and remains of burnt church buildings in Northern Nigeria, Central Africa, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and several other nations.

Blood has flowed. Widows and orphans have multiplied. Many have become sex slaves in the Muslim markets, while others are still nowhere to be found – and Allah is pleased.

Many modern Muslims have run all over the social space in desperation, quoting some “peaceful” verses from their Quran and trying hard to distance Islam from the insidious actions of Muslim terrorists all across the globe. But such efforts are futile.

Our facts about Islam are from its primary sources – the Quran, as well as Hadiths and biographies of Muhammad written by Islamic scholars. Muslims can only play up their ‘Islam is peace’ card by writing another Quran or scraping their Hadiths.

There were two phases of Muhammad’s mission – the Meccan and Medinan. There is a difference between the two which explains why Islam has “two faces” from one geographical location to another.

1. The Meccan phase: tolerance and peace when a minority

In Mecca, Muhammad had only a handful of followers. Majority of the Meccans were Pagans, Jews, Christians and Sabians, and they weren’t interested in Muhammad’s Islam. They laughed at his absurd claims and left him to his rants.

For a period of 10 years, he had just 100 followers. During this time, the Quranic verses he recited (supposedly from Allah) were tolerant and conciliatory towards the infidels:

Be patient with what they say” (Sura 73:10)

We know what the infidels say but you are not to compel them” (Sura 50:45)

If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel man against their will to believe?” (Sura 49:11)

Lord, these are people who do not believe, ‘Bear with them and wish them peace. In the end, they shall know their folly” (Sura 43:88).

There was no call to war in Mecca because the Muslims were a minority and having been raised in a religiously heterogeneous culture, didn’t see the need to impose their ways of worship on others.

2. The Medinan phase: Offensive war when non-Muslims are outnumbered.

Muhammad left Mecca alleging that the infidels were scheming to kill him. This is very unlikely for reasons already stated. He finally resided in Medina. There, he gained more followers and was able to raise a large army to spread his novel religion. Then his Quranic recitations changed to violence and force:

“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah (persecution) is worse than killing…” (Sura 2:191)

Strive against the unbelievers with great endeavour” (Sura 25:52)

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every strategem of war...” (Sura 9:5)

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah…nor acknowledge the religion of truth from among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay compensation [jizya] with willing submission…” (Sura 9:29)

The theological implication of these conflicting phases is this: the former (Meccan) verses of peace have been replaced or abrogated by the later (Medinan) verses.

The final commands of war takes priority over the initial verses of peace. According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Sura 9:5, 25

“These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations … This honourable Ayah [9:5] was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, ‘it abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater. Every treaty and every term’.” (Vol. 4, pp. 375-357).

Some Muslims rationalise Muhammad’s bloody wars by alleging that the pagans persecuted him when he was in Mecca, so he had no choice but to raid, kill and rape them.

But when one examines even biased Muslim records, it’s clear that Muhammad was the aggressor. He was the one who first started attacking and insulting the pagans and their deities, and they begged him to stop.

“When he [preached Islam to his tribesmen], they did not withdraw from him or reject him in anyway … until he spoke of their gods and denounced them. When he did this, they took exception to it and united in opposition and hostility to him…”

The Meccan leaders reported this to his uncle Abu Talib saying: “…Your nephew has reviled our gods, denounced our religion, derided our traditional values and told us our forefathers were misguided … Either curb his attacks on us or give us a free hand to deal with him” (The History of Al-Tabari: Muhammad at Mecca, Montgomery W. Watt and M. V. McDonald, 1988, Vol. VI, 93-95)

The Arabs prior to Muhammad lived together with Jews, Christians and were not bothered with whatever god Muhammad wanted to worship. All they asked for was for him to stop insulting their deities and ancestors.

Even when Muhammad persisted in his mockeries, they neither assassinated him nor his followers. Whereas Muhammad killed anyone who spoke against him or his religion when he attained military might.

Another implication of these two phases is that, it lays down a pattern of behaviour for Muslims for all time (After all Muhammad is their “perfect example” Sura 33:21).

When Muslims are a minority in a place, they preach peace and tolerance and clamour for rights they can’t give non-Muslims in an Islamic state. But once they gain an upper hand, they reveal the second face of Islam – wage war and impose Islam with force.

Ninth century Islamic scholar, Abu Tirmidhi declares:

“In normal conditions, when Muslims are in power and they are not living as a minority, and they are not under any compulsion or subjugation, it is an order for Muslims that they should not give such leeway to the non-Muslims and they should not greet them first nor yield the way for them” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, complied by Imam Hafiz, 2007, Vol. 3:19).

This “two faced” principle is also practically applied in Islamic deception or taqiyya/kitman.

Sura 3:28 says: “Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends…whose doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye guard yourselves against them taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of himself…”

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn comments that “unless you protect yourselves against them as a safe-guard (taqatan, ‘as a safeguard’, is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts. This was before the hegemony of Islam and [the dispensation] applies to any individual residing in a land with no say in it.”

That is to say, a Muslim is theologically permitted to lie and deceive non-Muslims, particularly when they are a minority. Ibn Kathir explains this verse too saying:

“In this case believers are allowed to show friendship to the unbelievers (outwardly) but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda said ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them ‘ …The Tuqyah is allowed until the Day of Resurrection…”

So, Islamic jihad actually stands on two legs – deception and violence. The first makes way for the second.

Part of the taqiyya tricks Muslims love to play is when they selectively quote their Quran to try to portray Islam as a peaceful religion. They love to quote places like:

a) Sura 2:256 “There is no compulsion in religion…

Islamic scholars have given different explanations about the context of this verse, but they all agree that it has been abrogated or replaced.

Some of them explain that ir applies to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who can choose between the options of conversion to Islam and jizya in an Islamic state.

That passage was recited when the Jewish women of Ansari who had vowed to convert their sons to Judaism were among the Bani Nadir Jewish tribe expelled from Medina by Muslim warriors and Muhammad’s opinion was sought.

The Tafsir of Al-Qurtubi however, says: “‘No compulsion’ was abrogated and he [Muhammad] was commanded to fight against the People of the Book in Surat at-Tawba” (Classical Commentary of the Holy Quran, 660).

b) Sura 60:8 “God forbids you not with regard to those fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them…

First of all, the Meccans didn’t actually drive out the Muslims, it was Muhammad himself who demanded they migrate with him.

Second, the term “fight you” in Islam also refers to those who criticize or verbally attack Muhammad or Islam. This can be seen from verse 2 which says:

If they come on you, they will be enemies to you, and stretch against you their hands and their tongues to do you evil, and they wish that you may disbelieve.”

Sura 9:12 too says “But if they violate their oaths after their covenant and attack your religion with disapproval or criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief (chiefs of Quraish- pagans of Makkah)…

Hence, to insult or criticize Muhammad or Islam (even by cartoons) is the same as “waging war against Islam” and the penalty of that is ostensibly death. This is how the cult of peace works. An Islamic scholar admits:

“As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and the likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g propaganda] or acts [like spying or assisting in warfare]. Some [jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed…” (Sheikh Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihad, 28).

c) Sura 8:61 “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace…

Tafsir ibn Abbas says: “This [verse] has been abrogated by the ‘sword verse’ [Sura 9:5]”.

Islamic scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Azzam also says: “Jihad and the rifle alone. No negotiation, no conferences and no dialogues” because “if the fighting stops, the disbelievers will dominate and fitnah, which is Shirk (polytheism) will spread” (Join the Caravan, pp. 9, 20).

Another common Quranic verse quoted is Sura 5:32 which says killing one man is the same as killing the whole of mankind. That has been addressed here.

Until people understand that Islam has two faces, they will keep embracing its mild face where it’s still a minority as its true form, not realizing that it has a beastly face, a dark side, which we now see daily in many parts of the world and which its dawagandists cannot successfully hide.

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