Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, “The Cow,” verses 141-210

posted at 9:00 am on July 1, 2007 by Robert Spencer

Continuing our tour through “The Cow,” the second and longest sura of the Qur’an, we encounter in verses 141-150 a discussion of the qibla, the direction for prayer. Muslims are directed henceforth to face the sacred mosque in Mecca when they pray (v. 150), when previously they had joined the Jews in facing Jerusalem. This appears to have come at the end of Muhammad’s attempts to convince the Jews that he was a prophet in the line of the Jewish prophets. Only “fools” (v. 142) protested the change – that is, the Jews: on this identification the relatively moderate commentator Muhammad Asad and the comparative hardliner Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri agree. Asad says: “This ‘abandonment’ of Jerusalem obviously displeased the Jews of Medina, who must have felt gratified when they saw the Muslims praying towards their holy city; and it is to them that the opening sentence of this passage refers.” Allah further criticizes the Jews and Christians for following their “vain desires” even though they knew Muhammad’s qibla is from Allah (vv. 144-6).

We saw that in verse 106 Allah announced that when he abrogated a verse, he would replace it with a better one, and that some Muslims believe that refers to things in the Qur’an, and others think it applies only to the Bible’s having been superseded by the Qur’an. The change in the qibla has some bearing on this. Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and an important early Islamic authority, says that “the first abrogated part in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah.” However, there is nothing in the Qur’an directing Muslims to pray facing Jerusalem, so this is an abrogation of an extra-Qur’anic regulation. We’ll be returning to abrogation in several contexts later.

Allah presents the new qibla as if it is a gift especially for Muhammad, who will “love” the new direction for prayer (v. 144). This is one of several passages in the Qur’an that suggest Allah’s special solicitude for Muhammad; another example is Allah’s gently rebuking him for initially declining to marry his former daughter-in-law when Allah wanted him to do so (33:37). Such passages have led unbelievers to think that Muhammad was enjoying the personal perks of prophethood, but for Muslims they only underscore Muhammad’s special status: the details of his life, and even his desires – in longing to pray facing the Ka’ba – are vehicles through which Allah reveals eternal truths and divine laws. And his example is normative. Muqtedar Khan of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy explains: “No religious leader has as much influence on his followers as does Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the last Prophet of Islam….So much so that the words, deeds and silences (that which he saw and did not forbid) of Muhammad became an independent source of Islamic law. Muslims, as a part of religious observance, not only obey, but also seek to emulate and imitate their Prophet in every aspect of life. Thus Muhammad is the medium as well as a source of the divine law.”

Verses 151-157 encourage the believers to be steadfast; verse 158 approves of a pre-Islamic practice during the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca; and verses 159-177 returns to the theme of the perversity of the unbelievers. Those who reject Islam will incur the curses of Allah, the angels, and all mankind (v. 161), and will dwell in hell (v. 162). Meanwhile, the burden of the believers is not heavy. They only need abstain from certain foods, including pork (v. 173). There are among the unbelievers those who stubbornly conceal what they know Allah has revealed (v. 174). Those who argue about what Allah has revealed in the Qur’an are in “open schism” (v. 176). The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that these are – yet again – the Jews.

Verses 177-203 legislates on various matters: zakat (almsgiving), the Ramadan fast, the Hajj, and jihad. V. 178 establishes the law of retaliation (qisas) for murder: equal recompense must be given for the life of the victim, which can take the form of blood money (diyah): a payment to compensate for the loss suffered. In Islamic law (Sharia) the amount of compensation varies depending on the identity of the victim. ‘Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), a Sharia manual that Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University certifies as conforming to the “practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community,” says that the payment for killing a woman is half of that to be paid for a man and for killing a Jew or Christian one-third that paid for killing a male Muslim (o4.9). For an explanation of this, see the Sufi Sheikh Sultanhussein Tabandeh’s statement here.

Verses 190-193 are among the Qur’an’s most important words about jihad warfare. V. 190, “begin not hostilities,” is often invoked today to show that jihad can only be defensive. Asad says that “this and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims.” However, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that this verse was abrogated by 9:1, which voids every treaty between the Muslims and nonbelievers. On the other hand, Ibn Kathir rejects the idea that the verse was abrogated.

What constitutes a defensive conflict? A clue to that comes in v. 193: “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” Ibn Ishaq explains that this means that Muslims must fight against unbelievers “until God alone is worshipped.” Says Bulandshahri: “The worst of sins are Infidelity (Kufr) and Polytheism (shirk) which constitute rebellion against Allah, The Creator. To eradicate these, Muslims are required to wage war until there exists none of it in the world, and the only religion is that of Allah.” This conflict would be essentially defensive, against the aggressions of unbelief: if Muslims must fight until unbelief does not exist, the mere presence of unbelief constitutes sufficient aggression to allow for the beginning of hostilities. This is one of the foundations for the supremacist notion that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers until those unbelievers are either converted to Islam or subjugated under the rule of Islamic law, as 9:29 states explicitly. As the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, puts it: “I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.” Thus one may reasonably assume that if one does not accept him as a prophet, one’s blood and riches are not safe from those who read these words as the words of a messenger from the one true God.

Verses 204-210 warn believers not to doubt, backslide, or follow Islam half-heartedly. Then begin consideration of a number of questions Muhammad’s followers asked him – revealing, among other things, the portentous significance of the phrase “persecution is worse than slaughter” (which also appears in v. 191). That’s where we’ll pick up next week.

(Here you can find links to all the earlier “Blogging the Qur’an” segments. Here is a good Arabic/English Qur’an, here are two popular Muslim translations, those of Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, along with a third by M. H. Shakir. Here is another popular translation, that of Muhammad Asad. And here is an omnibus of ten Qur’an translations.)


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I think there is a God. but I don’t look to any middle eastern religion’s doctrine for the explanation. Go Thor!

TheSitRep on July 1, 2007 at 9:09 AM

I love these segments, really informative.

Savage on July 1, 2007 at 9:19 AM

Walid Shoebat was on Fox News this morning, and he was saying that the world is making the mistake of preaching a message of secular moderation to the Islamists. He thinks they should be taught Christianity.

Personally, I don’t think either approach works. If a true-believing Muslim takes the Quran at face value, how can he possibly be taught otherwise?

flipflop on July 1, 2007 at 9:33 AM

“Blogging the Koran” is the most important series posted at Hot Air. As much as I enjoy Humping Robot, this one’s the winner. Thanks, Robert Spencer!

fiatboomer on July 1, 2007 at 9:38 AM

…another example is Allah’s gently rebuking him for initially declining to marry his former daughter-in-law when Allah wanted him to do so…

What a racket that is.

Pablo on July 1, 2007 at 9:47 AM

Thanks Robert! Before 9/11 I never imagined I would be taking a class on the Qur’an. The good old days.

Thanks to you and HotAir.

Canadian Infidel on July 1, 2007 at 9:56 AM

Walid Shoebat was on Fox News this morning, and he was saying that the world is making the mistake of preaching a message of secular moderation to the Islamists. He thinks they should be taught Christianity.

Yeah, I saw that. I admire Walid Shoebat, but he’s wrong on this point. If this becomes a struggle between Islam and Christianity, Christianity will lose. You can’t turn the other cheek to Islam.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Robert,

I’ve been reading through The Art of War along with my other studies and was struck by the simularities between the ancient Chinese and the Islamic tenets of war. On reflection, given the position of ancient Persia in relation to the east/west trade routes, it’s not terribly surprising. Question: is there somewhere a comparison between the classic military strategy and the Islamic war strategy? Maybe an in depth analisis of Islamic military tactics?

P. James Moriarty on July 1, 2007 at 10:09 AM

The Qu’ran reads like a set of stereo instructions in my eyes. If G-d wished to send a prophet to Jew, certainly that prophet would be born as a Jew not a cut throat war mongering illiterate scumbag such as brother Mo.

I submit to all who read this book that the symbols of Islam, that of a crescent moon and star are those of evil as it has been said many times over that evil comes at night. During the Exodus the angel of death came unto Egypt via night.

So very clever this book concieved and written that to educate one’s self by reading other scriptures would be sinful thereby eliminating the possibility of asking qestions as to why. If this being the will of G-d then I’m willing to go to hell as I cannot with heart believe any of it.

Furthermore, those that have never been educated with the bible first(Torah) or new testiment are usually more than willing to convert to something that would normally be appalling to the very nature of Judasism or Christianity.

warpmine on July 1, 2007 at 10:10 AM

As a “person of the book” the thought of going to one of the first five levels of hell doesn’t sound so bad. Bad news AP, you get level six.

Robert, I have read that most Muslims believe you can work your way out of hell with God’s forgiveness. What do you know about that?

BadgerHawk on July 1, 2007 at 10:32 AM

Thank You for these Quran posts…it is appreciated!
At the very least..it’s a good thing that there is a dialogue going on now…anyone catch the enemy within on cnn?
Truth will prevail, and I don’t think Muhammed can hold a candle to Jesus’ truths. Just doesn’t make sense.

bridgetown on July 1, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Robert,

It seems that while Muslims insist that Islam is pristine and pure, the simple fact is that Islam is about as schismatic and full of conflict as Christianity, maybe more. When you look at the various schools and sects in Islam, you don’t only see Sunni and Shia. You find Shias divided between Twelvers and Ismailiyahs, with five different Twelver sects and more Ismailiyahs. There are six different Sufi orders. In Sunni, there are four major schools of fiqh, and different schools of theology as well. Even within the most conservative school of fiqh, Hanbali, you have groups vying to be even more fundamentalist, and end up with the Salafis spawning the Wahabbis.

The Catholics of the Iberian peninsula created the Inquisition, in part inspired by watching the Muslim heresy hunters, like the Almohades, who had no shortage of “heretics” to find.

So how do any Muslims with a straight face insist that there is one interpretation of the Quran?

rokemronnie on July 1, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Thanks as always. The more I learn the more I realize our leaders and many pundits are either completely ignorant of Islam or they are lying to us and therefore, putting our lives in jeopardy.

TheBigOldDog on July 1, 2007 at 11:10 AM

Robert

Finally we get to one of my favorite parts. It’s funny how Muslim apologists I’ve seen sometimes use this to demonstrate how tolerant Islam is.

On Q193, where it states (Hilali-Khan)

And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshiping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)

Doesn’t the above statement pretty much sum up Islam’s mission statement – eradicate all other religions until Allah alone is worshiped? I’ve seen Muslim apologists claim that the last sentence ‘But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc)’ narrows the scope of the above statement, but I don’t see how. Particularly since 2:193 seems identical to 8:39.

Also, can you elaborate on the meaning of ‘Fitnah’? I had had an argument with a Muslim on JihadWatch, where he claimed that Fitnah means ‘discord’, not ‘oppression’, as some translations such as Pickthall seem to claim. Looking at how it’s been argued that ‘temptation away from Islam’ constitutes ‘Fitnah’, such as non-Muslim neighbors of Muslims prospering, and thereby sending often an unintentional message that non-allegiance to Allah doesn’t prevent people from being prosperous, it seem incumbent on pious Muslims to negate this situation, wherever it exists.

Also, getting back to a question I had for you previously, we know that the chronological order in which the suras appear determines the precedence. How does it work within a sura? Not to jump ahead of ourselves into next weeks, but how do the tafseers determine that 2:193 trumps 2:256, and on what basis? Are there chronological priorities within the chapters themselves?

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 11:31 AM

Redwinged Blackbird

I thought that Shoebat was making the case that the Islamists (of which he was once one) should be converted to Christianity (just like he did). He wasn’t suggesting that Christians turn the other cheek, or love their enemy.

Walid Shoebat and Robert Spencer above feature in the video: ‘Islam: what the West needs to know‘. Recommended viewing.

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 11:53 AM

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 11:53 AM

That’s even worse. Trying to convert jihadists to Christianity would be like trying to convert rattlesnakes to fluffy bunnies.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 12:05 PM

This is one of the foundations for the supremacist notion that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers until those unbelievers are either converted to Islam or subjugated under the rule of Islamic law, as 9:29 states explicitly.

And this “war” is fought by whatever means available. Where violence is either permissible or there is little acounting for it, they will use physical violence. Where there is an accounting for violence, they will use spiritual and political jihad. This will continue until Islam is exposed – or victorious.

Thanks, Robert.

Connie on July 1, 2007 at 12:17 PM

The only other option being to kill them, which I’m not against. However, for Muslims at large (not the Jihadi terrorists), I do believe that conversion to any other religion – Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Scientology, Rastafarianism, et al is a good and bloodless way of ending the Jihad.

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 12:19 PM

You can’t turn the other cheek to Islam.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Tell that to my priest. According to him, Christians are mistreating Muslims and the Qur’an exudes peace.

Connie on July 1, 2007 at 12:24 PM

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Actually, I would not be surprised to see significant (but not large) numbers of Muslims convert to Christianity as this struggle intensifies. If that happens, it will probably be more out of spite for the jihadists than any kind of religious awakening. This might help a little, but only to the extent that it isolates the jihadists. In the end, we have to deal with an ideology that prohibits any kind of non-violent resolution to the conflict.

Connie on July 1, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Your priest hasn’t read the Koran, despite whatever claim he makes to the contrary.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Thank you Mr. Spencer. Very interesting, as always. I’m getting quite an education via these installments and I am looking forward to next weeks installment.

SilverStar830 on July 1, 2007 at 1:17 PM

2:10 Disbelievers are diseased.
2:99 Disbelievers are evil people.
2:104 For disbelievers is a painful doom.
2:171 Disbelievers are deaf, dumb, and blind.
3:28 Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference of believers.
3:73 Don’t believe anyone who is not a Muslim.
3:48 Don’t be friends with non-Muslims. They all hate you and want to ruin you.
4:89 Have no unbelieving friends. Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.
4:63 Oppose those who refuse to follow Muhammad.
4:101The disbelievers are an open enemy to you.
4:144 Do not choose disbelievers as friends.
5:51 Don’t take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them.
5:51 Jews and Christians are losers.
5:60 Allah turned unbelievers into apes and swine.
5:59 Jews and Christians are evil people.
9:5 Slay the disbelievers wherever you find them.

MB4 on July 1, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Robert Spencer is the man on Islam!

His “The Politically Incorrect Guide to ISLAM” is one of the few books that I have considered worthwhile buying during the last few years.

MB4 on July 1, 2007 at 1:22 PM

Connie on July 1, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Your priest hasn’t read the Koran, despite whatever claim he makes to the contrary.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 12:47 PM

No, I would gather he hasn’t. He mentioned some PhD’s book, but didn’t give the author. That said, he is, according to the tee shirt he wore at last year’s picnic, a Proud Member of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

Connie on July 1, 2007 at 1:33 PM

God help your priest Connie. That’s all I can say.

mram on July 1, 2007 at 2:13 PM

Thanks, Robert Spencer, for your writings and analysis. I’ve enjoyed these seminars immensely!

Can’t help but think that Islam will always be a flawed religion, given the author, Muhammad, was a madman warrior. Obviously he had talent, writing to and convincing those poor tribes who flocked to him, but he was no God’s prophet. He’s caused countless deaths over the centuries, and will cause millions more, unless Islam as a Faith is debunked.

But, how does one debunk a Faith, since the true believers in said faith ignore any real evidence against it?

That’s the definition of Faith: believing things that don’t always add up; clinging to religions that have have little evidence to support them.

Serr8d on July 1, 2007 at 2:35 PM

P. James Moriarty:

I’ve been reading through The Art of War along with my other studies and was struck by the simularities between the ancient Chinese and the Islamic tenets of war. On reflection, given the position of ancient Persia in relation to the east/west trade routes, it’s not terribly surprising. Question: is there somewhere a comparison between the classic military strategy and the Islamic war strategy?

I don’t know of any such, but I have never studied military strategy — there may be one.

Maybe an in depth analisis of Islamic military tactics?

Well, you may be interested in The Qur’anic Concept of War by S. K. Malik, a Pakistani Brigadier General, and The Prophet’s Concept of War by Gulzar Ahmed, although these are not precisely what you asked for.

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 3:10 PM

BadgerHawk:

Robert, I have read that most Muslims believe you can work your way out of hell with God’s forgiveness. What do you know about that?

This is not a Qur’anic view. According to 4:169, 33:64-65, etc., the unbelievers reside in hell forever. If they ask for relief they will be given to drink water like molten brass, scalding their faces (18:29).

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 3:16 PM

rokemronnie:

So how do any Muslims with a straight face insist that there is one interpretation of the Quran?

Anyone who asserts this is either ignorant or trying to take advantage of the ignorance of another. There is even a famous hadith in which Muhammad says: “The Jews were split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be split up into seventy-three sects.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4579)

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 3:20 PM

Infidel Pride:

Also, can you elaborate on the meaning of ‘Fitnah’? I had had an argument with a Muslim on JihadWatch, where he claimed that Fitnah means ‘discord’, not ‘oppression’, as some translations such as Pickthall seem to claim. Looking at how it’s been argued that ‘temptation away from Islam’ constitutes ‘Fitnah’, such as non-Muslim neighbors of Muslims prospering, and thereby sending often an unintentional message that non-allegiance to Allah doesn’t prevent people from being prosperous, it seem incumbent on pious Muslims to negate this situation, wherever it exists.

“Discord,” not “oppression”? I’m not sure this is a distinction with a difference. Since 2:190-193 says that one should fight until the religion is for Allah, and unbelief and idolatry are routinely classified as “crimes,” (e.g., by the “moderate” Ayatollah Shirazi and many others) it is clear that Muslims are being told to fight until such offenses disappear.

Or am I misunderstanding your question?

Also, getting back to a question I had for you previously, we know that the chronological order in which the suras appear determines the precedence. How does it work within a sura? Not to jump ahead of ourselves into next weeks, but how do the tafseers determine that 2:193 trumps 2:256, and on what basis? Are there chronological priorities within the chapters themselves?

There is no consensus about chronological ordering within a given sura. 2:256 is a very important verse that I’ll discuss at length next week. I don’t think you’ll find many Islamic authorities saying that 2:193 trumps 2:256. Rather, they interpret 2:256 as forbidding forced conversion. 2:193 must be seen in light of 9:29, which allows Jews and Christians to submit as dhimmis rather than convert. Thus 2:193 doesn’t mandate forced conversion, but merely the political hegemony of Islamic law. If Jews and Christians are living as dhimmis within Islamic domains, the commands that are contained within all three verses are being observed.

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM

I was listening to the Medved radio show the other day where Mr. Spencer had previously debated a Seattle area muslum. Sorry, I don’t know the guys name. Anyway, he was on by himself and said that he totally disagreed with Roberts take on Islam. When the host tried to nail him down he would ramble on about how all people and religions do the same thing, that Islam just happened to be under the microscope.

First, would anyone happen to know this guys name and second, where would his disagreement be? Seems pretty cut and dry from what I’ve read so far. I didn’t hear the whole segment so I might have missed something. He seemed like a moderate but I don’t know. He kind of took every thing Medved said and threw it back. No substance

Mr. Spencer, you are the man!

dingbat on July 1, 2007 at 3:46 PM

“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is worse than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.” -v 191

Well, that explains a lot.

WWJD?

locomotivebreath1901 on July 1, 2007 at 3:48 PM

dingbat:

That would be Jafar (“Jeff”) Siddiqui, a Muslim leader in Seattle. I enjoyed that debate. If Mr. Medved is interested in another round, I’m available.

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 3:54 PM

Thank you Robert.

Griz on July 1, 2007 at 4:07 PM

Or am I misunderstanding your question?

Robert

My question was partly answered, but I was also asking how the latter part of the verse

But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)

fits in with the above verse? I somehow read that as meaning that if they convert to Islam or accept Islamic hegemony, let there be no transgression.

Also, how does ‘until all religion is for Allah’ square with allowing the ahl al Kitab (Christians & Jews) to practice their own religion, but as Dhimmis? I understand that it calls for establishing the political hegemony of Islamic law, but that isn’t waht the above phrase seems to suggest. While 9:29 calls for the hegemony over Infidels, this verse 2:193 doesn’t seem to suggest that, and the weasel phrase at the end doesn’t make that obvious.

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 4:11 PM

Are We Losing the War Against Radical Islam? – Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

What an $ss.

Of course we are losing the “war” against Islam, as “we” can not say Islam, but instead have to say radical Islam.

The radicals in Islam are those who are apostates, not the ones who follow the teachings of Mohammad!

We would have lost WWII, if “we” had been of the same frame of mind and had a “war” with radical Nazis and believed that most all Nazis were a government of peace.

MB4 on July 1, 2007 at 4:30 PM

I think I meant what an a$$.

MB4 on July 1, 2007 at 4:30 PM

MB4

Farid Zakaria is the son of Rafiq Zakaria, who was a major Muslim leader of India’s Congress party – the ruling party for 50 years, and a champion of Dhimmitude both within and outside India. It’s a mistake to look at him as somebody rooting for the West against Islam.

Anything he says in Newsweek has to be for public consumption – I find it unbelievable that he’d actually be opposed to Islamic supremacy, if not Jihad.

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 4:41 PM

It’s not very hard to recognize any evil orthodoxy. At some level they almost always seem to get around to hating the Jews who happen to be God’s chosen people in the Old Test. Jesus himself was Jewish and without the Jewish people I would not be a Christian. Interesting how most evil through-out history hated the Jewish people. Islam is no exception!

sabbott on July 1, 2007 at 6:57 PM

How do you define a moderate Islamic? One that is out of ammunition…

sabbott on July 1, 2007 at 6:58 PM

Thanks Robert. You make the extremely difficult task of navigating the Koran managable.

If this becomes a struggle between Islam and Christianity, Christianity will lose. You can’t turn the other cheek to Islam. RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Let’s not forget that Jesus said “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” I’ve read the book and we win in the end, no problem.

Mojave Mark on July 1, 2007 at 7:18 PM

Thanks Robert.

Spirit of 1776 on July 1, 2007 at 7:41 PM

Let’s not forget that Jesus said “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” I’ve read the book and we win in the end, no problem.

Praise God and pass the ammunition.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 1, 2007 at 7:56 PM

Infidel Pride:

My question was partly answered, but I was also asking how the latter part of the verse

But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)

fits in with the above verse? I somehow read that as meaning that if they convert to Islam or accept Islamic hegemony, let there be no transgression.

Yes, if they convert or submit, there should be peace. That’s the idea.

Also, how does ‘until all religion is for Allah’ square with allowing the ahl al Kitab (Christians & Jews) to practice their own religion, but as Dhimmis? I understand that it calls for establishing the political hegemony of Islamic law, but that isn’t waht the above phrase seems to suggest. While 9:29 calls for the hegemony over Infidels, this verse 2:193 doesn’t seem to suggest that, and the weasel phrase at the end doesn’t make that obvious.

The idea here is that dhimmitude is a temporary condition. In Sunni eschatology, and also in Shi’ite in a modified way, Jesus will return at the end of the world and abolish the dhimma, killing or Islamizing all the dhimmis.

Robert Spencer on July 1, 2007 at 9:43 PM

Robert

Thanks. That explains it all.

infidelpride on July 1, 2007 at 11:22 PM

002.141
YUSUFALI: That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case:
PICKTHAL: Those are a people who have passed away; theirs is that which they earned and yours that which ye earn. And ye will not be asked of what they used to do.
SHAKIR: This is a people that have passed away; they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer for what they did.

American8298 on July 2, 2007 at 4:09 AM

Muslims, as a part of religious observance, not only obey, but also seek to emulate and imitate their Prophet in every aspect of life. Thus Muhammad is the medium as well as a source of the divine law.”

That’s a big enough problem in and of itself.

PRCalDude on July 2, 2007 at 2:50 PM

So how do any Muslims with a straight face insist that there is one interpretation of the Quran?

rokemronnie on July 1, 2007 at 10:58 AM

I had a Pakistani-American roommate that was Muslim while I was at NYU. He was the first Muslim that I had the chance to get to know and be friends with. I once asked him “What’s the difference between Sunni & Shiite Muslims?” It was pre-9/11 and I was only mildly interested and was mostly just making conversation.

He got really agitated and said, “There’s no difference. There is no such thing as Sunni or Shiite….there are just Muslims. We’re all Muslims. Those are just lies made up by the press to make it seem like there are divisions in Islam, but it’s not true.”

I don’t know if he was just repeating what he had been told (and didn’t know any better) or if he was willfully deceiving me about it, but he was angry & adamant.

Of course, now that I’ve had the chance to study Islam (and actually see their handiwork up close and personally), I’d have to call shenanigans. Until Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq stop decapitating each other and drilling holes in each other’s heads, I’m going to continue believing there’s at least some *small* difference.

JadeNYU on July 2, 2007 at 3:10 PM

Mr. Spencer,

I remember you mentioning in several of your books about Islam that many Muslims outside of the Arab world do not understand what Qur’an says because they don’t understand Arabic. I guess my question is more about how this is possible and how a mosque can function (and incite such religious fervor) without the understanding of the group.

Misty217 on July 2, 2007 at 7:38 PM

Misty217:

I remember you mentioning in several of your books about Islam that many Muslims outside of the Arab world do not understand what Qur’an says because they don’t understand Arabic. I guess my question is more about how this is possible and how a mosque can function (and incite such religious fervor) without the understanding of the group.

The prayers, including recitation of the Qur’an, are in Arabic. Muslims must learn the prayers in Arabic. So the mosque can function just fine, with the five daily prayers, without many people necessarily knowing what the Arabic says.

How is such religious fervor incited? That can be done by the imam, in his Friday sermons and other efforts, without requiring that his congregation know Qur’anic Arabic.

Robert Spencer on July 2, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Thank you Mr. Spencer. These posts are very enlightening.

VolMagic on July 3, 2007 at 12:30 AM

Would not the banning of alcohol in Sura 5:90-1 represent, at least in part, an abrogation of the earlier verses 2:219 and 4:43–this last being the “something better” that was promised? If so this would seem to indicate that abrogation has an application within the Qur’an and not merely to previously revealed texts such as the Bible as some have suggested.

Annar on July 3, 2007 at 6:08 PM