Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cole Defends The Jihadists

As Muslims respond to criticisms as Muslims do -- rioting, burning churches -- because the Pope quoted what someone said 600 years ago, they actually have their defenders, like the blind (metaphorically) leftist mystic Juan Cole:
The idea of holy war or jihad (which is about defending the community or at most about establishing rule by Muslims, not about imposing the faith on individuals by force) is also not a Quranic doctrine. The doctrine was elaborated much later, on the Umayyad-Byzantine frontier, long after the Prophet's death. In fact, in early Islam it was hard to join, and Christians who asked to become Muslim were routinely turned away.
So, with that bit of history, we are supposed to ignore the violent jihad that is swirling all around us? No, before we get to that point, we'd best quote the Qur'an, and Cole provides:
In fact, the Qur'an at no point urges that religious faith be imposed on anyone by force. (emphasis mine) This is what it says about the religions:
' [2:62] 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. '
Let's help Juan out a bit here, shall we?
O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him. (Qur'an 9:123)

Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan (Qur'an 4:76)
Of course, the Pope didn't quote the Bible in his speech on Islam, so let's go beyond the Qur'an and see what some Islamic thinkers of the same era -- 600 or so years ago -- wrote. From The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (pp. 24-25).
Why does this distinction matter? Because of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation (naskh). This is the idea that Allah can change or cancel what he tells Muslims: "None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?" (Qur'an 2:106). According to this idea, the violent verses of the ninth sura, including the Verses of the Sword (9:5), abrogate the peaceful verses, because they were revealed later in Muhammad's prophetic career: In fact, most Muslim authorities agree that the ninth sura was the very last section of the Qur'an to be revealed.

In line with this, some Islamic theologians have asserted that the Verse of the Sword abrogates no fewer than 124 more peaceful and tolerant verses of the Qur'an. ... Another mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Isma'il bin 'Amr bin Kathir al Dimashqi (1307 - 1372), known popularly as Ibn Kathir, declares that sura 9:5 "abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term. ... No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bar'ah [the ninth sura] was revealed." Ibn Juzayy (d. 1340) agrees: The Verse of the Sword's purpose is "abrogating every peace treaty in the Qur'an." (emphasis added)
These words were written a few decades before the dialog quoted by Pope Benedict; they provide context, a window back in time that illuminates the conversation. It's exactly the kind of context apologists for Islam have to ignore in order to defend the rioters and church-burners and condemn the critics of Jihad.

Most perplexing is why Cole and other deniers of jihad choose the side they choose. Perhaps they simply choose the side of the revolutionaries against the establishment to hold onto their youth, when they protested Vietnam. Can't they see the differences between the enemies then and now?

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