Tuesday, 8 June 2010

There Is Something Healthy in the State of Denmark

”We come in peace, but if you don’t surrender, we will kill you”

The trouble with those cartoons is not at all that they offend fervent Muslimsthat sort are offended by our very existence—but that by their placid humor they humanize a man with a hugely problematic legacy, and thereby offended the memory of untold millions of victims of Jihad through the ages.

Ahmed Akkari, spokesman of the Muslim organizations in Denmark, said that
Muslims all over the world want the “truth” about their prophet to become known to the rest of the world. “We want respect for Muhammad restored and we want him to be described as the man he really was in history,” he declared. Of Muhammad’s life we are informed from the Kuran (English convert Marmaduke Muhammad Pickthall’s 1930 translation is still the best by far) and the far more voluminous hadith, recorded “traditions” about the prophet.

Muhammad’s fortunes changed in June 622, when a group of 75 people from the fertile settlement of Yathrib, 200 miles north of Mecca, came to him professing acceptance of his faith and inviting him to come to them. Once physically secure in his new abode but always short of funds,
Muhammad ordered armed raids against Meccan caravans passing near Medina on their way to Syria. An early raid, at Nakhla, took place in the sacred pagan month of Rajab, when no Arab was permitted to raise arms in battle. Not only Muhammad’s foes, but his followers, too, were likely to be scandalized by the wanton violation of sacred trust, so he promptly received a revelation from Allah that the raid enjoyed divine sanction. (2:214)

From that moment on,
the morality based on pre-Islamic concepts and scriptures, in custom and in natural human sensibility, was to be abrogated in favor of what was advantageous to Muhammad and his followers. In 624, at Badr, his men killed over forty Meccans in a single razzia that fortified Muhammad’s power in Medina. Yet again, however, divine justification was required for ambushing and murdering one’s own kinsmen, which was repugnant to an Arab. Yet again it was duly granted. (3:123-125)

Allah’s alleged messages grew more bellicose at this time:
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them.” (8:12) The “messenger” gloated in the spectacle of his slain enemies and ordered execution of several prisoners who had crossed his path back in Mecca. From the victory at Badr on, to quote Ayatollah Khomeini, “Islam grew with blood.”

At that time Muhammad made the prospect of booty and ransom legal to his followers. This powerful inducement to endemic warfare was so important that it merited a separate sura in the Kuran (the eighth). In the division of the spoils, every man was allowed to retain the plunder of those whom he had slain, with the rest thrown into a common stock. From the proceeds one fifth was Muhammad’s, as condoned by Allah. (8:41. Once the loot was divided it was time to relax: “
Now enjoy what ye have won” (8:69). The promise was reiterated in other verses: “Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture.” (48:20-21) Muslim warriors desire the lure of this world, so “enjoy what you have won as lawful and good.” (69:30-37) As for the fallen, a very tangible, X-rated paradise filled with virgins “unouched by man” (52:17-20, 55:56-77) and “fresh” pre-pubescent boys (52:24, 56:17, 76:19) awaits them immediately.

When Muhammad returned from Badr to Medina in triumph
, he proceeded to settle old scores with his detractors. An atmosphere of fear and foreboding descended on the city. Hisfirst victim was
Asma bint Marwan, a poetess who had mocked him in verse; she was slain while nursing her baby, and the surviving members of her family “willingly” accepted Islam the following morning. Abu Afak, an elderly Jew who dared question Muhammad’s methods, was the next victim of Muhammad’s hit squads, immediately followed by yet another unfriendly poet, Kab bin al-Ashraf. Artistic expression and freedom of speech were thus given a distinctly Islamic interpretation by the religion’s founder himself. In the morning after Ashraf—a Jew—was killed, Muhammad told his followers to “kill any Jew you can lay your hands on.One Muhayyisa bin Mas’ud, to prove his devotion, killed Jewish merchant Ibn Sunayna, his ex-employer. Muhammad’s attack against the Jewish tribe of Banu-’l-Mustaliq was the next step towards his Endloesung. His followers slaughtered many tribesmen, looted thousands of their camels and sheep; and kidnapped 500 of their women. The night after the battle, Muhammad and his brigands staged an orgy of rape. This “disappearance” was not a spontaneous phenomenon but the result of ethnic cleansing and genocide, culminating in the attack the last surviving Jewish tribe in Medina, Banu Qurayzah. Accused of treachery and forced to surrender, some 600 and perhaps up to 900 men were decapitated in front of their women and children.Truly the judgment of Allah was pronounced on high,” Muhammad gloated, and Allah responded by praising him for the way “he struck terror into their hearts.” (33:25) The women were subsequently raped, of course;Muhammad chose as his concubine one Raihana Bint Amr, whose father and husband were both slaughtered before her eyes some hours earlier.

Such treatment of captive women had already been
sanctioned by prophetic revelation, and applied to the captive women of

One single Kuranic verse, “the Verse of the Sword,” (9:5) Islamic scholars agree,
abrogates 124 earlier verses—the ones that are quoted most regularly by Islam’s character witnesses and apologists to prove its alleged tolerance and benevolence.

The image of a victorious leader, merciless with the defeated infidel and feared by his foes, worked wonders for Muhammad. On January 12, 630,
he marched into Mecca in triumph,
having violated the ten-year truce of Hudaybiyya signed two years previously. That violation was predictably condoned by Allah. (60:10) Ever since, the view of Islamic jurists has been that truces with the infidel could only be temporary and that their only permissible objective was to enable the Muslim side to gain strength for a new onslaught. Contrary to his own regulations he had at least fifteen wives. The youngest was Aisha, a daughter of his close aide and the first caliph Abu Bakr, who was seven years old “and with the dolls” when Muhammad—44 years her senior—“married” her. Two years later, when she was 9 and he 53, the “prophet” consummated the “marriage,” i.e. raped the little girl.Some years later he came up with a Kuranic verse approving his nightly trysts with an Egyptian slave girl, and admonishing his jealous wives for their objections to the practice. (66:1-3) Allah’s revelation also enabled Muhammad to take his daughter-in-law Zainab as a wife when he lusted after her. (36:37)

Many commands of the Kuran and Muhammad’s actions and words recorded in the Traditions are morally abhorrent and/or criminal by the standards of our time. But even in the context of 7th century Arabia they were often considered repugnant. Muhammad had to resort to “revelations” as a means of justifying his actions and suppressing the prevalent moral code of his own society.

Attacking caravans in the holy month, taking up arms against one’s kinsmen, slaughtering prisoners, reserving a lion’s share of the booty, murdering people without provocation, violating treaties, and indulging one’s sensual passions, was also at odds with the moral standards of his Arab contemporaries.

Only the ultimate authority could sanction it, and Allah duly obliged him.
The lives of the unconverted captives could be spared if they pay a tribute to the Muslims: “
Fight those who do not profess the true faith till they pay the jiziya [poll tax] with the hand of humility.” (9:29)

That Islam sees the world as an open-ended conflict between the Land of Peace (Dar al-Islam) and the
Land of War (Dar al-Harb), which must be conquered by jihad, is the most important bequest of Muhammad to his heirs. That “Allah is great, there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger” was easily grasped by the coarse nomads of the desert, especially when the celestial reward was preceded by the tangible earthly loot divinely sanctioned. Charles Manson had met John Gotti; the results were phenomenal.

JIHAD, war in the path of Allah with the objective of converting, killing, or else subjugating and taxing the “infidel,” is Muhammad’s most significant single contribution to the world history. The view of modern Islamic activists, that “Islam must rule the world and
until Islam does rule the world we will continue to sacrifice our lives,has been solidly rooted in traditional Islam ever since the early divine sanction of violence that came to Muhammad in Medina: “

On its own admission
Islam stands or falls with the person of Muhammad, a deeply flawed man by the standards of his own society, as well as those of the Old and New Testaments, both of which he acknowledged as divine revelation; and even by the new law, of which he claimed to be the divinely appointed medium and custodian. The cartoon controversy confirms the validity of Bat Ye’or’s warning (in 1993) that no “Europeanization” of Islam is on the horizon anywhere: there is no move or gesture that would be expressed in “a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism, an acceptance of the principle of equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, a retroactive recognition of the rights of the peoples decimated and degraded by the system of dhimmitude, and an attitude of moral humility—a necessary stage on the path toward reconciliation between peoples. We are light years away from such a development.



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