Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 3, “The Family of Imran,” verses 64-120

posted at 9:00 am on August 5, 2007 by Robert Spencer

Verses 64-120 of the Qur’an’s Sura 3, “The Family of Imran,” continue to charge that Jews and Christians reject Islam only out of perversity, and call them back to the true faith of Abraham. V. 64 caps the Qur’an’s presentation of Christianity in verses 33-63 by calling the People of the Book to accept Islam. This is presented as an invitation to an “agreement”: “that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah.” This would (in the Islamic view) require Christians to reject Christ’s divinity, as well as the Jews’ and Christians’ practice of deifying their “rabbis and monks,” which the Tafsir al-Jalalayn mentions in connection with this verse. That charge comes from Qur’an 9:31.

In verses 65-68 Allah rebukes the Jews and Christians for arguing over something about which they “have no knowledge” (v. 66): the religion of Abraham. The Patriarch couldn’t have been a Jew or a Christian, says v. 65, because “the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him.” In reality, he was a Muslim hanif (حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمً) (v. 67) – as the Tafsir al-Jalalayn explains: “Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian, but he was a Muslim, professing the Oneness of God, and a hanīf, who inclined away from all other religions towards the upright one; and he was never of the idolaters.” What’s more, Muhammad and the Muslims are “the nearest of kin to Abraham,” as Ibn Kathir says: “This Ayah [verse] means, ‘The people who have the most right to be followers of Ibrahim are those who followed his religion and this Prophet, Muhammad, and his Companions…”

Of course, if Abraham was a Muslim, Judaism is completely illegitimate. The Jews (and Christians) are simply renegades from the true faith of their own prophets – which was Islam. And that is the view of Judaism and Christianity that many Muslims have today. V. 69 emphasizes the perversity of some of the Jews and Christians: they wish to lead the Muslims astray, when it is actually they who go astray, rejecting the “signs of Allah” even though they are witnesses of them (v. 70). “Signs” is in Arabic “ayat,” which is also the word used for the verses of the Qur’an. Thus this could refer to the delegation of Christians from Najran and/or other Christians and Jews who heard Muhammad recite the Qur’an and still rejected Islam – and, according to Islamic accounts, knew Muhammad was a prophet but didn’t want to admit it for selfish reasons. Says Maududi: “This is why the Qur’an repeatedly blames them for maliciously misrepresenting the signs of God which they saw with their own eyes and to which they themselves attested.” And they even stooped, as recounted in verses 71-2, to subterfuges to try to turn others away from Islam: “they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it” (v. 75). Among these dirty tricks, they pass off their own words as Holy Scripture (v. 78); some skeptics have speculated that Muhammad himself, seeking information about earlier revelations, was among their victims, before he caught on to the ruse.

Verses 79-80 dismiss as “impossible” the idea that a prophet – clearly Jesus – could have taught that he was divine. He is just a prophet like the other prophets (v. 84), and Allah will accept from no one any religion other than Islam (v. 85). And those who reject the true Faith after accepting it bear “the curse of Allah, of His angels, and of all mankind” (verses 86-7). This refers, says Maududi, to the “Jewish rabbis of Arabia” who acknowledged and then denied Muhammad. Verses 93-4 assert that Jewish dietary laws were invented by the Jews (or Jacob – Israel – himself), and v. 95 calls them to reject what Maududi calls “hair-splitting legalism” and return to the true monotheism of Abraham – i.e., Islam.

V. 96 says that the shrine at Mecca (Bakkah) was the world’s first house of worship. It was built, says Ibn Kathir, by Abraham, “whose religion the Jews and Christians claim they follow. However, they do not perform Hajj [Pilgrimage] to the house that Ibrahim built by Allah’s command, and to which he invited the people to perform Hajj.” The People of the Book “reject the signs [ayat] of Allah” (v. 98) and try to obstruct others on the path of Allah (v. 99). If Muslims listen to these Jews and Christians who reject Islam, they will become apostates (v. 100). On the Day of Judgment, the faces of the blessed will be white, and those of the damned will be black (v. 106).

On earth, meanwhile, the Muslims are “the best community that hath been raised up for mankind,” while most Jews and Christians are “perverted transgressors” (v. 110). However, the Muslims need not fear, for the Jews and Christians are also cowards: “if they come out to fight you, they will show you their backs” (v. 111). They are covered with shame – “except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and from men” (v. 112). This, says Bulandshahri, refers to the non-Muslims’ agreeing “to pay the atonement (Jizya) to the Muslim state, in which case they will be accorded the rights of a Dhimmi.” These rights are not equal to the rights of Muslims: the dhimmis must accept subservience and second-class status (cf. 9:29) in exchange for a guarantee of protection – as long as they do not offend the Muslims.

Now, all of this is not to paint the People of the Book with a broad brush! Some “rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration” (v. 113). According to Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Abbas and others, this refers to “the clergy of the People of the Scriptures who embraced the faith” of Islam. But steer clear of those who don’t accept Islam: v. 118, says Ibn Kathir, forbids Muslims from “taking followers of other religions as consultants and advisors,” for even those who are outwardly kind actually hate the Muslims (v. 119-120).

Next week: The rest of Sura 3 introduces various lessons drawn from the events of the Battle of Badr, the Muslims’ first great victory (624 AD) — when the Muslims were “a contemptible little force” (v. 123) but Allah granted them victory over a numerically superior force of the pagan Quraysh tribe. This battle has had immense influence over Islamic attitudes toward warfare to this day.

(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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nuke them!

zane on August 5, 2007 at 9:28 AM

on “People of the book”

[3:113] They are not all the same; among the followers of the scripture, there are those who are righteous. They recite GOD’s revelations through the night, and they fall prostrate.

[3:114] They believe in GOD and the Last Day, they advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and they hasten to do righteous works. These are the righteous.

[3:115] Any good they do will not go unrewarded. GOD is fully aware of the righteous.

zane on August 5, 2007 at 9:40 AM

forbids Muslims from “taking followers of other religions as consultants and advisors,” for even those who are outwardly kind actually hate the Muslims (v. 119-120).

Sounds like Satan wants to preserve his lies by reinforcing them with fear and paranoia. Still, God is greater and many Muslims are coming to Jesus!

Ordinary1 on August 5, 2007 at 9:47 AM

zane on August 5, 2007 at 9:28 AM

You forgot your sarcasm tag.

Connie on August 5, 2007 at 10:03 AM

Busy week for your Robert. I just want you to know how much your efforts are appreciated by thousands and thousands of people you may never meet.

I sincerely believe that in generations to come you will be remembered for your efforts today.

TheBigOldDog on August 5, 2007 at 10:41 AM

I sincerely believe that in generations to come you will be remembered for your efforts today.

TheBigOldDog on August 5, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Of that there’s little doubt.

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 11:19 AM

This weekend I watched Tony Arroyo (host of “The World Over” weekly world news program on the Catholic Channel EWTN) interview the leader of the Chaldean Christian community in Iraq through an interpreter. They named one major neighborhood in Baghdad where Christians were given utlimatums by muslim gangs: pay tribute, convert to islam, or be killed if you don’t leave. They said there are now almost no Christians left in that neighborhood. The abuses are terrible.

According to this cablecast Christianity was established in Iraq by Christ’s disciple Thomas (doubting Thomas). Christianity precedes Islam in Iraq and they say this community may soon go extinct unless the world helps preserve them soon. Apparaently the Iraqui Christians (Chaldeans) are the only group without their own militia.

A sadly humorous note: the interpreter said the Christians would not even know which sect of islam to convert to: shia or sunni. If they join one sect they would be targeted by the other.

Arroya asked why the world is so silent on this problem.

I am not sure if this same program will be presented today on EWTN. They usually re run a program for a week and then change over. If I get more time later I will try and track it down. It backs up everyting Spencer is presenting.

The information Spender is presenting is not just historical drama.

To understand the reality of a religion you must observe how it is implemented.

entagor on August 5, 2007 at 11:34 AM

TheBigOldDog on August 5, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Here here!

Ordinary1 on August 5, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Once again, I don’t understand something…

If Abraham, according to Sura 3, v. 65, could not have been a Jew because “the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him”…How can there be justification that he was Muslim? Mohammed wasn’t to come for centuries.

Professing “one God” seems to me to have originated with the Jews, while others in Egypt, Rome and Greece were worshipping many gods.

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 12:03 PM

…If Abraham, according to Sura 3, v. 65, could not have been a Jew because “the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him”…How can there be justification that he was Muslim? Mohammed wasn’t to come for centuries…

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 12:03 PM

That’s nothing…some even claim that Adam and Eve were the first Muslims.

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Every time I read these suras, I’m struck at how much the Muslims have taken from the Jews and Christians, enough to suit their needs, and yet at the same time Muhammad uses his writtings to suit his own personal agenda to suppress and abuse the two older religions and their people.

4shoes on August 5, 2007 at 12:31 PM

I wonder how much outside info Charles Manson is allowed to read or view. If he declares himself a Muslim, what will keep him in jail? Certainly not CAIR.

Coronagold on August 5, 2007 at 12:32 PM

Oh Jeez…. when is hot going to wake up and STOP PANDERING TO TERRORISTS?!?!?!??!?!?!

JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONE AND ONLY MASSIAH AND IS GOD ALMIGHTY!

MOHAMMAD IS A DEAD MAN, WHO CLAIMED TO BE GOD AND WAS WRONG!

Idiot.

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 12:55 PM

zane:

nuke them!

No one here is advocating that. I fail to see why you or anyone else thinks that an exploration of the Qur’an and Islamic views of it amounts to an attempt to paint Muslims in a bad light. It is what it is, it says what it says.

JetBoy:

If Abraham, according to Sura 3, v. 65, could not have been a Jew because “the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him”…How can there be justification that he was Muslim? Mohammed wasn’t to come for centuries.

The Islamic view is that Islam is the original religion of mankind and of each individual. It is the original religion of all the prophets, but the followers of Moses, Jesus, etc. corrupted their messages to form Judaism and Christianity. Then Muhammad came with the Qur’an to restore mankind’s original religion to its perfect, uncorrupted form.

Chuck in Detroit:

Oh Jeez…. when is hot going to wake up and STOP PANDERING TO TERRORISTS?!?!?!??!?!?!

JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONE AND ONLY MASSIAH AND IS GOD ALMIGHTY!

MOHAMMAD IS A DEAD MAN, WHO CLAIMED TO BE GOD AND WAS WRONG!

Idiot.

I suspect you are a provocateur, and I don’t know who you think is pandering to terrorists, but no one here is. And actually, Muhammad never claimed to be God.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:15 PM

Burn in hell, you terrorist scum…

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 1:35 PM

Muhammad claimed to be a Prophet and was wrong. Here’s a link for you. and some more info, read and learn… Until you renounce Islam and repent of your ways, you’re a terrorist in my eyes.

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 1:43 PM

Bryan,

It looks as if some provocateurs have registered as commenters here. Maybe it’s time for some cleanup.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Burn in hell, you terrorist scum…

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 1:35 PM

I decided to click the link in your profile, and came across this little gem in your newest blog entry:

Another thing that I find most disconcerting, is that fact that Hotair.com is pandering to terrorists! How is it, that a Blog that asserts to be a Conservative Blog, Which upholds Conservative Values, which are entirely based upon the Holy Bible, That is the Bible of the Christians. But yet, it allows the blogging of a one, Robert Spencer, who is a Muslim, which is, in fact, a Religion of Terror? I call it blatant hypocrisy! Malkin, You’re a damn disgrace to the Conservative Movement!

In addition to badly missing the point of Robert’s posts here on the Qur’an, you also clearly know nothing about Robert himself. I suggest you check out JihadWatch, learn something about the man, and stop your ridiculous hysteria about Robert being a terrorist and Hotair “pandering to terrorists”. Sheesh.

sheik_rattle_n_roll on August 5, 2007 at 1:46 PM

sheik_rattle_n_roll:

Thanks, but could anyone really be that dimwitted? I rather think this is someone who is intentionally trying to lower the tone here and to make it look as if everyone here is a slavering yahoo — so as to discredit the whole thing.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:49 PM

Hmph, So much for free speech. I called your bluff and exposed you for what you truly are. and now you gotta call your right wing buddies to boot me off, you’re not only a bearded terrorist, but a very small man and coward. Go back mecca, please.

Goodbye Hotair, fun while it lasted.

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 1:53 PM

So when Ali Hassan al-Majid famously said to Saddam Hussein that Christians are all weak its reasonable to assume that he was informed by Sura 3 of the Koran.

aengus on August 5, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Looking at “Chuck’s” blog, I am even more convinced that this is a Leftist who thinks he’s clever and is pretending, ham-handedly, to be a conservative — in an attempt to get conservatives to agree to outrageous things he says. Then he’ll go back to Kos or wherever and laugh about the silly rightwingers he bamboozled.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Robert…

Calling that guy a “provocateour” is being far too nice. His type is known ’round these parts as a far more demeaning term.

And again, thank you for taking the time not only to post this series…but also to answer questions.

I still cannot see the reasoning behind the belief that Abraham and other prophets were Muslim…long before the guy who sorted it all out came along…Isn’t it true that Mohammed is THE prophet of God? And if so, how could anyone before him know?

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 1:55 PM

Robert Spencer is a bearded terrorist? Is that you Mr. Hooper? Now I’ve heard everything.

aengus on August 5, 2007 at 1:55 PM

Chuck in Detroit appears to be a provocateur (or an ignoramus), and may no longer post comments here.

Zane, consider this your first and final warning, not so much for what you’ve posted in this thread but for your previous attempt(s) to hijack posts.

Bryan on August 5, 2007 at 2:03 PM

JetBoy:

I still cannot see the reasoning behind the belief that Abraham and other prophets were Muslim…long before the guy who sorted it all out came along…Isn’t it true that Mohammed is THE prophet of God? And if so, how could anyone before him know?

Muhammad is the final prophet, and the one who brings the perfect book, the Qur’an. But in the Muslim view there were many, many other prophets, all of whose original message was the same as Muhammad’s. Their followers are responsible for any divergences.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 2:04 PM

could anyone really be that dimwitted?

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:49 PM

Yes. I read his blog.

Connie on August 5, 2007 at 2:56 PM

If islam demands the belief in the Gospel, the Gospels have Christ telling of his return, islam claims that mohammad was the last prophet and foretold by Christ. Would that not make mohammad Christ? If you follow the claims of islam? Or perhaps maybe the Emperor Constantine read the tea leaves and convened the Council of Nicaea for the sole purpose of perverting islam which did not exist.

jdkchem on August 5, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Chuckyboy reads like a far leftist’s fevered imagining of what a “reich-winger” must be like, i.e. a Moby.

Detroit isn’t exactly a hotbed of conservatism. It is known for two particular political philosophies, however.

On the other hand, mental illness is always a possibility.

On the gripping hand, the “your right-wing buddies” quote and the fact that it obviously didn’t read the post or anything behind it does lead us back to Moby.

Merovign on August 5, 2007 at 4:46 PM

Bryan,

It looks as if some provocateurs have registered as commenters here. Maybe it’s time for some cleanup.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Yes, absolutely.

And thank you for all you do.

My question:

Thus this could refer to the delegation of Christians from Najran and/or other Christians and Jews who heard Muhammad recite the Qur’an and still rejected Islam – and, according to Islamic accounts, knew Muhammad was a prophet but didn’t want to admit it for selfish reasons.

Is there a Jewish or Christian account of this event? To contradict the Islamic account?

CrimsonFisted on August 5, 2007 at 5:47 PM

My quote tags are goofy, but still, (sorry) I am not an Old Testament expert AT ALL but I thought one of the last books of the OT said that there will be no more prophets? That those days were over? And then there was Jesus – not a prophet. The Messiah. The Jews would never accept Mohammad as a prophet and neither would Christians. So we didn’t admit it for “selfish” reasons that they never define?

CrimsonFisted on August 5, 2007 at 5:51 PM

However, they do not perform Hajj [Pilgrimage] to the house that Ibrahim built by Allah’s command, and to which he invited the people to perform Hajj

Given that even the so called ‘people of the book’ – Jews & Christians – are forbidden from entering Mecca, isn’t it disingenuous of Ibn Khatir to slam them for not doing something that they aren’t allowed to do in the first place, even as ‘people of the book’?

infidelpride on August 5, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Thank you, Mr Spencer…I was always under the impression that Mohammed was the “it” guy…

“…and Mohammed is his prophet” always meant to me to be that it was Mohammed that set the standards of what the message of Islam was to be, as dictated by Allah. I don’t really see the similarities between, say, Abraham…and Mohammed, but my interest is peaked and I’ll have to do some more reading.

Thanks again for the Q&A…and for doing this series. Learning something new every week.

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 6:10 PM

Chuck in Detroit on August 5, 2007 at 1:43 PM

Anybody that cites Jack Chick and his evangelistic cartoon pamphlets as reliable sources of information is pretty scary.

HeIsSailing on August 5, 2007 at 6:13 PM

CrimsonFisted asks:

I thought one of the last books of the OT said that there will be no more prophets? That those days were over?

I don’t think so, in fact quite the contrary. Malachi speaks of Elijah the Prophet coming again on the fateful day of the Lord. Joel mentions that at some time before the ‘Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, that his spirit will be poured out on all flesh, such that sons and daughters will ‘prophecy’. Paul also mentions prophecy as one of the gifts of the Spirt. And yes, Jesus was viewed by Christians as the Messiah, but also as a prophet, as he was the divine oracle of God. So there you go.

HeIsSailing on August 5, 2007 at 6:34 PM

JetBoy:

Thank you, Mr Spencer…I was always under the impression that Mohammed was the “it” guy…

“…and Mohammed is his prophet” always meant to me to be that it was Mohammed that set the standards of what the message of Islam was to be, as dictated by Allah. I don’t really see the similarities between, say, Abraham…and Mohammed, but my interest is peaked and I’ll have to do some more reading.

Muhammad IS the “it” guy. He DOES set the standards of what the message of Islam was to be, as dictated by Allah. And in the process, he says that these earlier religious figures, Abraham and Moses and Jesus, all taught what he taught.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 6:41 PM

infidelpride asks:

Given that even the so called ‘people of the book’ – Jews & Christians – are forbidden from entering Mecca, isn’t it disingenuous of Ibn Khatir to slam them for not doing something that they aren’t allowed to do in the first place, even as ‘people of the book’?

My guess is that they are expected to convert to Islam, then the requirement is upon them to travel to Mecca at least once. So slamming them for not enterring Mecca even though they are forbidden is a way of making conversion an obvious consequence. I suppose it is not much different than the Christian requirement to take the eucharistic elements with a degree of awareness of one’s own sinfulness. If you take the elements unworthily, eg as a non-believer, you eat and drink damnation unto yourself (1 Cor 11:29). So even though you are required to partake, you cannot until the right conditions are met. Same thing with Islam. Even though you are required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, you cannot until the right conditions are met.

HeIsSailing on August 5, 2007 at 6:45 PM

Mr. Spencer, if you’re still around…I hope you won’t mind answering a question not directly related to this part of the Qu’ran.

In this news article from the Seattle Times, the reporter makes the following claim:

…spreading faith — what some call proselytizing — is a tenet of Christian theology, while the Quran teaches against it.

Of course, the writer cites no particular sura or verse, just throws it out there assuming we’ll all buy it.

I’m familiar with the Muslim duty of Da’wah, which basically requires full-time proselytizing from observant Muslims. But is there anything in the Qu’ran that one might interpret as “teaching against it”?

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 6:57 PM

Sorry…forgot the link.

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 6:59 PM

@flipflop

Meant to thank you too for that link earlier…re: Adam and Eve. Interesting site…

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Meant to thank you too for that link earlier…re: Adam and Eve. Interesting site…

JetBoy on August 5, 2007 at 7:03 PM

No problem…just don’t spend too much time reading it…it’ll make your head hurt.

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 7:08 PM

Clean up in aisle 5!

Wow. We have some nefarious trolls commenting in here.

…Mr Spencer, thank you again for the furthering of my education. I have to say, since first starting to visit and read Jihad Watch, and after all my exposure to your insight and teachings since, I have become a little more enlightened each and every time. I admire your dedication, I appreciate your time, and I respect your tenacity!

Thank you for this installment and I’m looking forward to the next one.

SilverStar830 on August 5, 2007 at 7:10 PM

Mr. Spencer and others here at HA have enterd into a good, intelligent discussion here about the Qu’ran. As a Christian myself, I believe in compassion and understanding of others. It’s too bad that people like Zane and Chuck in Detroit make the rest of you look bad, but there are people like this everywhere.

I am what you would call “liberal” or “progressive,” and I do read DKos, and some commentors there make a lot of good people look bad–that’s no secret. It is people like those who lower the dialogue for the rest.

If you’re wondering why I’m commenting here on HA, it’s because it’s no fun to always discuss issues with people that agree with my views most of the time. I try to understand the views of conservatives and others.

Oh, to give you just a little more disclosure; I am an Edwards supporter.

sandman on August 5, 2007 at 7:16 PM

I actually believe that the ‘provocateurs’ really don’t know Spencer or his work. There are some who are afraid of Islam so much that they won’t have any of it, even mention of it. However, the more prudent school of thought is ‘know thy enemy’. In which case, we need to understand what they think by learning what they have been taught.

Knowing what they believe and actually believing it are two entirely different things (just ask my ‘intro to the Old Testament’ professors in college who were determined to show me the errors in the Bible). Those professors knew what it said, but didn’t believe it.

Also, I find it a little disingenuous to imply that Christians and Jews who do not complete the Hajj are somehow deficient in their eyes when this particular ‘pillar’ is OPTIONAL even for muslims. The Hajj is only a requirement if you can afford it. Which to me seems less than holy because God shouldn’t put a provision in a faith based on economic ability. The more you learn about Islam the sillier it gets.

Also, they believe that the dome of the Rock is where Abraham sacrificed his son (as the Jews told them) – so how (and why) did he get to Mecca to build the Kabaa? Also, why in the world do they believe he went to Jerusalem during the ‘night journey’ instead of going from Mecca? The whole thing smells of contradictions based on convenience. Their claim to the Islamic holiness of Al Aqsa seems more jealousy of Jews than anything legitimately holy.

Thanks again Robert Spencer. I know it must be difficult when Christians misunderstand your teachings shedding light on Islam and think you are actually preaching Islam. It’s like ‘friendly fire’. Us Christians are on the same side people. Robert Spencer is probably our best weapon against the hatred and bigotry of Islam.

ThackerAgency on August 5, 2007 at 7:16 PM

…spreading faith — what some call proselytizing — is a tenet of Christian theology, while the Quran teaches against it.

This is a lie. Everything involved in Islamic lifestyle is inherently proselytizing. Muslim women can not marry non-muslim men (to marry a muslima you have to convert). Muslim men can marry non-muslim women, but their children are automatically muslims. They wear their muslim garb to outwardly show their ‘holiness’ and is in effect proselytizing. When muslims come to the house of a non-muslim to collect the jizya (tax because you are non-muslim) what might go through the mind of the taxed other than convert so you don’t have to pay?

The call to prayer 5 times a day is once again an announcement to come to Islam. Everything involved in Islam is a way of life intended to coerce people into their faith. ‘Convert or die’ is another aspect of ‘non-proselytizing’ that might be persuasive.

So that statement might be a bit of Taquiya (lying to promote Islam which in itself would be proselytizing), or it may be the author misunderstanding something he/she was told.

I hope this is accurate but I would gladly be corrected by the teacher Spencer.

ThackerAgency on August 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Oh, to give you just a little more disclosure; I am an Edwards supporter.

sandman on August 5, 2007 at 7:16 PM

*oof* You’re a braver man than I. But welcome to HA!

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

ThackerAgency:

God shouldn’t put a provision in a faith based on economic ability. The more you learn about Islam the sillier it gets.

Requiring the Hajj only if you can afford seems to make sense to me. It is just admitting the realism that many will not be able to afford the journey, whether we are talking about 1400 years ago or today. Remember, the God of the Bible does the same thing. In the sacrificial laws of the Torah, special provisions are made for the poor. If a lamb could not be afforded for a sin offering, a couple of pidgeons could be used – if not that then a measure of grain. It seems perfectly reasonable to me, not silly at all.

HeIsSailing on August 5, 2007 at 7:31 PM

Robert,
I’ve said it before. You are a hero. Thanks for your contributions. (In addition to BigOldDog’s comments)

tdau1997 on August 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

HeIsSailing on August 5, 2007 at 7:31 PM

Salvation in Christianity doesn’t require any money at all. In fact, He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Also, ‘sell all of your earthly possessions and follow Me’ doesn’t seem to favor people with ANY money.

So according to Christ anyway, it would be more difficult to be saved if you were rich (could affod anything He might ‘require’) than if you were poor. The tithe is 10% of what you have (could be any amount), but that isn’t a requirement of salvation.

You might think God wants you to do something for Him only if you can afford it. I think it’s silly to make it a ‘pillar’ that might make a poor person seem inferior in a religion. Also, I’m certain that they compete on piousness based on how many times they have completed the Hajj. That would encourage boasting and ‘holier than thou’ status. Boasting to me seems like it is not holy at all.

ThackerAgency on August 5, 2007 at 7:50 PM

The call to prayer 5 times a day is once again an announcement to come to Islam.

ThackerAgency on August 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

And the only reason it’s not more than 5 times a day is because Moses convinced Mohammed to talk Allah down from 50 to 5.

flipflop on August 5, 2007 at 8:16 PM

Rob, do you think the notion of ‘revising’ history in this fashion – calling the prophets’ religion Islam and well as Abraham’s – and insisting all historical evidence given to the contrary is in fact itself revised – contributes to a conspiracy mentality?

Might this create difficulty in handling, or even inventing scientific inquiry?

RiverCocytus on August 5, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Robert, thanks for bringing this weekly thread to HA. I have tried to read and understand the Qu’ran for years without success and have found your posts here to be a great help.

Buzzy on August 5, 2007 at 8:40 PM

jdkchem

If islam demands the belief in the Gospel, the Gospels have Christ telling of his return, islam claims that mohammad was the last prophet and foretold by Christ. Would that not make mohammad Christ? If you follow the claims of islam?

No, because Islam demands belief in a Gospel that does not exist — the “uncorrupted” original Gospel of Jesus that teaches Islam, and which does not exist and never has existed.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:43 PM

CrimsonFisted:

Is there a Jewish or Christian account of this event? To contradict the Islamic account?

I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of one.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:44 PM

CrimsonFisted:

The Jews would never accept Mohammad as a prophet and neither would Christians. So we didn’t admit it for “selfish” reasons that they never define?

They define them in these stories about the delegation from Najran: it was all about money.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:45 PM

Infidel Pride:

Given that even the so called ‘people of the book’ – Jews & Christians – are forbidden from entering Mecca, isn’t it disingenuous of Ibn Khatir to slam them for not doing something that they aren’t allowed to do in the first place, even as ‘people of the book’?

I.K. is saying essentially that they don’t become Muslims, even though they could worship at Abraham’s shrine if they did — yet they claim to revere Abraham.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:47 PM

flipflop:

There is no Qur’anic prohibition against Islamic proselytizing. Far from it. Islam is and always has been a proselytizing faith. Here is Muhammad telling Muslims to invite their opponents to accept Islam. The Seattle Times article is pure whitewash.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:51 PM

RiverCocytus

Rob, do you think the notion of ‘revising’ history in this fashion – calling the prophets’ religion Islam and well as Abraham’s – and insisting all historical evidence given to the contrary is in fact itself revised – contributes to a conspiracy mentality?

Might this create difficulty in handling, or even inventing scientific inquiry?

I’m not sure. Possibly. I think it’s worth exploring.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:57 PM

jdkchem

If islam demands the belief in the Gospel, the Gospels have Christ telling of his return, islam claims that mohammad was the last prophet and foretold by Christ. Would that not make mohammad Christ? If you follow the claims of islam?
No, because Islam demands belief in a Gospel that does not exist — the “uncorrupted” original Gospel of Jesus that teaches Islam, and which does not exist and never has existed.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:43 PM

This is a great point. Sharing a ‘belief’ in Abraham and Jesus is always used as an ecumenical wedge to imply that islam is merely a different nuance of the same histories. But what is really shared about Jesus? Apparently nothing.

You point out that there is no book of gospels we can find in islam. These unavailable gospels according to Mohammed must be very different from the Christian Gospels because Mohammed recognized Jesus as a prophet, yet Mohammed declared a system that contradicted most of the Christian Gospels. For instance, in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ declared that it was most important to love one’s enemies, while Mohammed applied great value to hating one’s enemies.

Besides the date of birth what commonality is there?

The Christian Gospels accept the history of the old testament. Christ was a Jew who declared he came not to change the law of the old testament. Between the Old and New Testaments I find great harmony, while compared to the Koran I see great disharmony

entagor on August 6, 2007 at 2:17 AM

Robert Spenser:

Muhammad is the final prophet, and the one who brings the perfect book, the Qur’an. But in the Muslim view there were many, many other prophets, all of whose original message was the same as Muhammad’s. Their followers are responsible for any divergences.

What I don’t get is if prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet all the way to Jesus preached the same message, then why did it get “corrupted” time after time after time? Wouldn’t somebody have gotten it right before Mohammed came along? If Moses truly was a muslim, and Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, then wouldn’t the Israelites have followed the “uncorrupted” religion?

There’s too many explinations going on for the claim about Islam being the “one true” religion. Wouldn’t the simpler explination be that Judiasim and Christianity with all of its prophets, be right?

crazy_legs on August 6, 2007 at 10:27 AM

I thought one of the last books of the OT said that there will be no more prophets? That those days were over?

I don’t think so… John the Baptist was clearly a prophet and accepted as one. In some of the early chapters of the Gospels Jesus is refered to by His followers as a prophet (before the Apostles figured out just who He really was).

crazy_legs on August 6, 2007 at 10:33 AM

crazy_legs: To my knowledge, there was a period where there were no prophets. If you view each major change as an ‘end time’ (which in a sense they were if you remember the destruction of the Jewish state and temple not long after Jesus’ time.) I think Micah was the last prophet before ‘That Prophet’ that Moses mentions in Deut. (though John was certainly before him.)

The potential of having periods of no prophecy wherein there is a ‘last prophet’ before some kind of Eschaton is not just possible but probably sensible. However, It would seem to me that Islam intends to make this claim across all of existence for Mohammed. So, in a limited context a ‘last prophet’ is a definite reality. But from the perspective of the entire world and history there can be no ‘last prophet’ other than God himself (who is the Beginning and the End.)

It has often struck me that a lot of Islamic teaching is a kind of semi-ignorant mishmash of themes from the surrounding religious traditions. Consistency through the body of ‘scripture’ is sacrificed for ideological constructs as well as immediate political/social expediencies.

Jesus’ saying is the most true in this case: that there will be many prophets and those claiming to be the Christ (anointed one.)

Often what is taught by Christ is counter-intuitive and certainly not expedient or consistent with a human ideology. But this is not a mark of perversion, but men, having the image of God have capacity for truth, so they are merely lost and not completely evil. It would be sensible if a modicum of what we hold naturally to be truthful would match up with the Truth itself. It also makes sense that our intuitions or reason could lead us astray and thus what we want often conflicts with the truth.

However, a teaching that conveniently lines up with man’s basest instincts is suspect from the very start.

The idea of ‘abrogation’ in the context of the Qui’ran appears to be a convenient method to override the contradictions that arise from man’s conflicting passions.

Not to be a hate baiter – instead to point out what I have observed and what my opinion of it is.

RiverCocytus on August 6, 2007 at 3:32 PM

Someone had mentioned that according to Islam, Adam and Eve were Muslims — actually, according to Islam every single human being who ever lived on earth is/was Muslim. According to Islam, the only reason why there are other religions is because parents teach the wrong things to children, and this leads the children astray (away from Islam). This also explains the notion of “reverting” back to islam — not “converting.”

I think this “everyone is a Muslim” (and done in retrospect, or with the arrow of time pointed backwards) renders the claim irrefutable. But (in science, anyway) having a theory which cannot be refuted, does NOT strengthen the theory, it weakens the theory. Many times, also, conspiracy theories are beyond critique; they are irrefutable. Suppose someone wishes to make a claim that “psychic” energy is the “cause” of disease X — how can this be refuted? Usually any damaging evidence will be explained away through the use of an ad hoc argument.

But here in the West, we are rationalists, and irrefutable claims are not granted acceptance. We withhold our acceptance. Ditto should be the case for the absurdist claim: “We are all Muslims.”

J.S. on August 7, 2007 at 12:16 PM

CrimsonFisted had asked about “the last books of the OT said that there will be no more prophets? That those days were over?”

The last prophet was Malachi, and the “age of prophecy” does, indeed, come to an end (according to Jewish tradition).

J.S. on August 7, 2007 at 12:31 PM

No, because Islam demands belief in a Gospel that does not exist — the “uncorrupted” original Gospel of Jesus that teaches Islam, and which does not exist and never has existed.

Robert Spencer on August 5, 2007 at 9:43 PM

How do Muslims respond to this?

PRCalDude on August 7, 2007 at 3:51 PM

PRCaldude, I would guess that the imaginary “uncorrupted” Gospel text (which does not actually exist, except in the minds of Muslims) is Also Known As “Islam.” In other words, when Christians become Muslims, then Christians will have realized/endorsed the “uncorrupted” text of the Gospel (or accepted Islam).

I heard a Da’wa program the other day — they believe that Christians have been fooled into believing that J.C. was crucified. In reality, according to the Muslims, this didn’t happen — either someone else took the place of J.C. (ranging from Judas to a Roman soldier, etc., the Muslims don’t seem to think it’s too terribly important to figure out whom exactly was crucified) OR that J.C. was not dead when taken down from the cross…(he was still alive, thus, no resurrection). The whole point of the Muslim narrative is to assert that Christianity is false, and that Christians are deceived. Anyway, that’s what Muslims say.

J.S. on August 7, 2007 at 4:40 PM