Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 19, “Mary”

posted at 8:00 am on March 30, 2008 by Robert Spencer

This is another Meccan sura. In the first part of Muhammad’s career, a group of Muslims migrated from Arabia to Abyssinia. One of the Muslims recited the material here about Mary and Jesus to the Christian ruler of Abyssinia, showing him that Muslims believed in Jesus, but not as the Son of God.

After the mysterious letters in v. 1, verses 2-40 retell the story told in Luke 1:5-80 – with some important differences, of course. Vv. 2-15 begin, as does Luke’s account, with the story of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, encountering an angel (Luke 1:11; v. 9 of this chapter of the Qur’an establishes that Allah is not speaking directly with Zechariah). The angel tells him he will become a father despite his old age and his wife’s barrenness (v. 8). In the Qur’an, unlike in the Gospel, this comes as an answer to his prayer for a son (vv. 4-6). In both the Gospel (Luke 1:20) and the Qur’an (v. 10) he is unable to speak after this vision, although the Qur’an, unlike the Gospel, does not present this as punishment for his unbelief, but only as a sign of Allah’s power.

There is nothing in the Qur’an paralleling the Gospel’s connection of Zechariah’s son John with Elijah (Luke 1:17), the prophet who was to return before the Lord’s coming (Malachi 4:5-6). John is not the messenger sent to prepare the way of the Lord; he is simply pious (“meaning that he was pure and had no inclination to do sins,” says Ibn Kathir, in an echo of some Christian traditions that John committed no sins), devout, and kind to his parents (vv. 13-14).

Then vv. 15-40 follows the story of the birth of Jesus, but like the account of the birth of John it differs significantly from the Gospel account. For one thing, the angel tells her only that she will be the mother of a “holy son” (v. 19) – there is not a word, of course, about his being “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), a concept rejected again in v. 35. Jesus is virginally conceived (v. 20). Ibn Kathir says that many scholars believe she conceived by the breath of the angel Gabriel: “Many scholars of the predecessors (Salaf) have mentioned that at this point the angel (who was Jibril [Gabriel]) blew into the opening of the garment that she was wearing. Then the breath descended until it entered into her vagina and she conceived the child by the leave of Allah.”

Mary still suffers the pains of childbirth (v. 23) – while in some Christian traditions she does not, since those are the result of the sin (Genesis 3:16) that Jesus is taking upon himself and expiating (I Corinthians 15:22). Here, Mary gives birth to Jesus under a palm tree (not in a manger as in Luke 2:7) as Allah comforts her in her pains with dates (vv. 24-26). A voice cries out from beneath her, “Grieve not! For thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee” (v. 24); Ibn Abbas, Sa‘id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, ‘Amr bin Maymun, As-Suddi and Qatadah say this was Gabriel, while Mujahid, Al-Hasan, and Abdul-Rahman bin Zayd say it was the baby Jesus, who speaks soon enough anyway (vv. 30-33).

Abdul-Rahman bin Zayd notes that when Jesus told her in this verse not to grieve, she responded, “How can I not grieve when you are with me and I have no husband nor am I an owned slave woman?” To avoid the embarrassment of having to explain how she came to have a newborn, he tells her to tell people she is fasting and not speaking with anyone (v. 26). And as expected, when her family sees the child, they are amazed (v. 27), and remonstrate with her: “O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” Many have charged that since the Qur’an here calls Mary “sister of Aaron,” Muhammed is confusing Mary the mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron – in Arabic the names are identical, Maryam. Even the Christians of Muhammad’s day noticed this, but Muhammad had a ready explanation: “The (people of the old age) used to give names (to their persons) after the names of Apostles and pious persons who had gone before them.” So calling Mary “sister of Aaron” was, says Muhammad, an honor, not an error.

In any case, to allay their suspicions Mary simply points to the cradle, and Jesus begins speaking (vv. 30-33). This and other Qur’anic material about Jesus seems to come from heretical and non-canonical Christian material: the baby Jesus doesn’t speak in the New Testament, but an Arabic Infancy Gospel that dates from the sixth century says this: “Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.” Of course, in the Qur’an he doesn’t say he was the Son of God, but rather the “slave of Allah” (v. 30), for to have a son is not befitting for Allah’s majesty (v. 35).

Verses 41-50 return to the story of Abraham, recounting his breach with his father when his father refused to give up his idol-worship. Abraham prays that Allah will forgive his father (v. 47), but we learn elsewhere that in this he is not an example for the Muslims (60:4). Abraham turns away not only from the idols, but from his father also (vv. 48, 50). Verses 51-58 mention in passing several prophets, including Moses, Ishmael, and Idris (Enoch). Verses 59-63 return to the delights that the blessed will enjoy in Paradise, but without being very specific.

Then verses 64-98 conclude the sura by sounding familiar themes, mostly about the unbelievers. The angels don’t descend except by Allah’s command (v. 64) – this said because Muhammad wondered why he didn’t see Gabriel more often. Those who doubt the resurrection will not escape the Day of Judgment (vv. 66-71). In v. 73, the unbelievers are ready to determine which religion to follow based on the level of earthly prosperity of its adherents. “In this,” according to Ibn Kathir, “they were saying, ‘How can we be upon falsehood while we are in this manner of successful living?’” But Allah has destroyed countless generations before them (v. 74). Those who boast of their worldly success while remaining unbelievers will be punished for their boasts (vv. 77-80). The demons that the unbelievers worship will turn against them (v. 82); indeed, Allah will set the demons upon them (v. 83). The idea that Allah has begotten a Son is “most monstrous” (v. 89) – indeed, “at it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin” (v. 90). Allah will judge all beings (v. 95). The Qur’an gives “Glad Tidings to the righteous, and warnings to people given to contention” (v. 97) – for “how many a generation before them have We destroyed!” (v. 98)

Next week: Sura 20, “Ta Ha”: “We have not sent down the Qur’an to thee to be an occasion for thy distress.”

(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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Typo alert:

Where it says above, “Verses 59-63 returns to the delights that the blessed will enjoy in Paradise, but with being very specific,” that of course should say, “Verses 59-63 returns to the delights that the blessed will enjoy in Paradise, but without being very specific.”

That is, we have yet to see the lavish descriptions of Paradise that are famous in the West.

If any of the Hot Air High Command can fix this typo, I’d be most grateful.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 8:27 AM

“I am Jesus, the Son of God” … Of course, in the Qur’an he doesn’t say he was the Son of God, but rather the “slave of Allah”

Wow, that’s some serious revisionism! “Hey, Christians, your prophet was a “slave of Allah” so you better convert to islam!” We’ll see ’bout that.

Tony737 on March 30, 2008 at 8:51 AM

Many have charged that since the Qur’an here calls Mary “sister of Aaron,” he is confusing Mary the mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron – in Arabic the names are identical, Maryam. Even the Christians of Muhammad’s day noticed this, but Muhammad had a ready explanation: “The (people of the old age) used to give names (to their persons) after the names of Apostles and pious persons who had gone before them.” So calling Mary “sister of Aaron” was, says Muhammad, an honor, not an error.

That’s crazy.

malan89 on March 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Thanks Robert!

You have educated many.

The crazy part about all of this is that most westerners have no idea how old “Islam” is. I have friends that were under the impression that mohammed lived BEFORE Jesus and that the koran is older than the New Testament.

I recommend ANY of Robert’s books to them. ( I won’t loan the books out, I want Robert to be compensated for his efforts)

“Slave to Allah” eh?

I guess we’ll just see about that won’t we?

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM

The idea that Allah has begotten a Son is “most monstrous”

Which makes Jesus what? A “son of Gabriel”? A son of no father?

Muhammad knew he couldn’t discount Jesus, so he tried to obfuscate His true legacy. And yet he couldn’t make him into “just another prophet” (i.e. the acknowledged virgin birth). In their own fumbling, lying, hateful way, the Muslims admit there is no other person like Jesus.

Squiggy on March 30, 2008 at 9:07 AM

Thank You for doing these Mr.Spencer.

trailortrash on March 30, 2008 at 9:08 AM

Plagiarism is plagiarism, if the plagiator is ignorant enough he will eventually mix things up in the translation.

I don’t get why Mo had to take everything out of every religion and claim their prophets as your own. Jews had the courage to decline many false prophets, including jesus, despite their popularity – Mo apparently was an ancient version of American Idol, following a trend and not the truth.

Aristotle on March 30, 2008 at 9:20 AM

It’s too bad Jesus and Mohammed didn’t live at the same time. I get the feeling Jesus would have said something like “What have I to do with thee, Mohammed?”

I find the whole revisionistic impulse in Islam to be its most intellectually bankrupt component. To believe that Judaism and Christianity were actually, at their inception, Islam, is a level of historical absurdity and empirical improbability not seen in Western historiography for at least a few centuries. The fact that Muslims can actually believe that cock and bull story is pretty definitive proof of their intellectual inferiority. I know most Muslims are illiterate half-wits, but the leading “scholars” at least ought to know that under current methods of textual analysis, the historical claims of Islam vis-a-vis Jewish and Christian scriptures are easily refuted, meaning that one of the basic components of Islamic supercessionism is 100% false, which, by extension, means the Koran cannot be perfect, since it contains falsehoods. Layer on to that the constant drumbeat of Islamic supremacism and terrorism and I find myself continually in the position of having to wonder “Why exactly does Islam continue to exist when it adds nothing to the wider world?”

venividivici on March 30, 2008 at 9:21 AM

That’s crazy.

malan89 on March 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM

That’s Mohammed.

Shy Guy on March 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

“I have friends that were under the impression that mohammed lived BEFORE Jesus and that the koran is older than the New Testament.” – Talon

That’s because islam is so much more archaic and barbaric, it SEEMS older.

Tony737 on March 30, 2008 at 9:44 AM

“Slave of Allah?” After the black-eyed houris, young boys seem to play a pleasure role in the book. For example, Qur’an 52:22-24. Did Allah show himself interested in such pleasures with Isa’s birth?
/sarc

Annar on March 30, 2008 at 10:38 AM

by their fruits shall you know them.

reliapundit on March 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM

“Why exactly does Islam continue to exist when it adds nothing to the wider world?”

venividivici on March 30, 2008 at 9:21 AM

My opinion? Islam is a brilliant philosophy that works in two ways:

1)It allows any Muslim man to do whatever he wants, to whoever he wants, whenever he wants, as long as he can say it is in defense of Islam. And EVERYTHING can be seen as being in defense of Islam because Islam is almost totally and completely centered on the self. Since everything a Muslim does is couched in terms of what Allah has proclaimed, and there is almost no detail of daily life that isn’t covered, any selfish desire of a Muslim can find justification in the Koran and Hadiths.

2) Since every selfish desire of a Muslim is justified, the refusal to get want they want is not only an affront to that particular Muslim, but to Islam itself, and therefore the obstacle to getting what they want is a justifiable target of that particular Muslim’s wrath. It all depends on how pissed off he is about it what he will do about it.

It really is brilliant. Mohammed was a great study of human nature. He came up with a “religion” that appeals to the basest aspects of human nature. It’s a wonder their are only 1.5 billion Muslims.

The hole in my thesis is a huge one, though: women Muslims. I’ll never understand that one.

Jaynie59 on March 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Tony737 on March 30, 2008 at 9:44 AM

That works.

Jaynie59 on March 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Perhaps being TOLD that you are worthless/worth less from the day you are born has something to do with it?

I have a tough time understanding female converts, specifically Western females.

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 11:16 AM

“… women Muslims. I’ll never understand that one.” – Jaynie

Well, getting your face punched in will make you prefer compliance. How sad.

Tony737 on March 30, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Jaynie59,

Yes, but that doesn’t explain why the rest of the world doesn’t “cage in” Islam and let it destroy itself. I agree that Islam is a study in one side of human nature, but there is another side. It is that other side, which represents reason, progress, science and technology, that should easily be able to supress Islam, which represents the primitive past of humanity, not its future.

In fact, if you haven’t read this essay on the “why” of Islam’s survival, I recommend it wholeheartedly:

http://citizenwarrior2.blogspot.com/2007/10/terrifying-brilliance-of-islamic.html

venividivici on March 30, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Islam is the religion of opposites. Everything a non Muslim thinks of as good , Islam will tell you, is bad.

A simple and often correct approach for the non Muslim ,when confronted with anything Islamic, is to turn it inside out and consider the opposite to be the truth.

Right down to the smile on their faces.

BL@KBIRD on March 30, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Aristotle on March 30, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Muhammad created the Spin Zone out of his thirst for power.

Connie on March 30, 2008 at 1:20 PM

I have a tough time understanding female converts, specifically Western females.

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 11:16 AM

They think their “piety” makes them superior.

There is a link to the Yvonne Ridley article there. “In Islam, superiority is achieved through piety..” she says. She thinks she is SUPERIOR now.

Feh.

CrimsonFisted on March 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Jaynie59,

Actually, a Muslim is free to do whatever things Mohammad himself wanted to do. The Muslim god Allah is identical to Mohammad’s desires.

After all, aren’t all us Christians and Jews to be sacrificed at the end to expiate the sins of the Muslims, according to the Hadiths? Under that interpretation, a Muslim can do anything they wish without personal responsibility for their transgressions.

unclesmrgol on March 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM

“Why exactly does Islam continue to exist when it adds nothing to the wider world?”
venividivici on March 30, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Islam doesn’t have to produce anything. It is, and always has been, a purely parasitic theology. It was designed specifically to predate upon the perceived weaknesses of the Judeo/Christian ethos.

Judeism and Christianity are based on individual standards: “As long as *I* do the right thing, and try to behave in a way that is fair to others, all will turn out right.”

But Islam is a collectivist philosophy: “Individually, our lives may be a living hell, but once the last bastion of infidels has been brought under a single yoke then the world will magically become a paradise.”

This is the same battle we’ve always been fighting. At its core, Communism is the atheistic version of Islam: “WE live in squalor because THEY produce too much. So once the last capitalist haven has been overcome, the entire world will (somehow, magically) turn into a giant Worker’s Paradise.”

Take away the religious trappings, and what you have left are the memes: One philosophy is based on the type of peaceful cohabitation that facilitates enterprise, resulting in excess production. The other philosophy admires envy and rewards belligerence.

When the productive meme is successful, there is that much more temptation to join the parasites. When the parasitic meme grows too large it weakens, and the necessity for production drives more people in that direction.

logis on March 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I appreciate that many here, through these posts by Mr. Spencer, are discussing this subject intelligently. This is what blogging should be about.

Doug on March 30, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Wow. Well, this is one of these posts I’ve been excited to get to. But after reading that, and following some of the links, I’m left shaking my head.

I’ll have to have a few gallons more coffee…but one thing did intrigue me:

Mary still suffers the pains of childbirth (v. 23) – while in some Christian traditions she does not, since those are the result of the sin (Genesis 3:16) that Jesus is taking upon himself and expiating (I Corinthians 15:22).

Well, my Catholic Church says she did not experience the childbirth pain because Jesus was not conceived in the traditional way. And, while still pregnant, the angel told her “Blessed art thou, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”

But then, to Muslims, Jesus is not the Son of Allah I see…

JetBoy on March 30, 2008 at 1:59 PM

CrimsonFisted on March 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM

A person that’s going to fall for something like that had to be fundamentally messed up, to begin with. Her gracious and holy captors, by the grace of allah (and, no, I will not use a capital “a”) tolerate and reveal her sinful behavior, and point her in the direction of the most high (and peaceful). From there, she realizes her sins against islam (nope, no capital “i”, either), becomes a muslim (nope, not here, either), and is, from then on, a chaste and holy woman.

Bullcrap.

If that story was even true, like I said, she had to be messed up on a fundamental level, from the start, to find ‘happiness’ in a life of indentured servitude to men, second class status and a true and dangerous vunlerability to sharia “law”.

Virus-X on March 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM

A couple of questions for you, R.S.

Versus 66-71 state,

“Those who doubt the resurrection will not escape the Day of Judgment.”

How do the mohammendans square the koranic principle of ‘no original sin’ with a resurrected body? What’s wrong with the original one allah gave them? And what becomes of this earth once the ‘true’ muslims are all in paradise?

Finally, any word on why Isa (Jesus) was virgin born but not mohammed or any other islamic prophet?

I have no comment on the ‘angel blowing up the woman’s skirt’ thang…

Thanks again for all your work on another good read!

locomotivebreath1901 on March 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM

I have a tough time understanding female converts, specifically Western females.

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 11:16 AM

There’s a pretty good movie called Not Without My Daughter starring Sally Fields (of all people) but that movie explains some of the reasons why not only do many women convert, but won’t leave either.

JetBoy on March 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Finally, any word on why Isa (Jesus) was virgin born but not mohammed or any other islamic prophet?

Thanks again for all your work on another good read!

locomotivebreath1901 on March 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM

What a GREAT question (and comment). How is that issue resolved?

CrimsonFisted on March 30, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Finally, any word on why Isa (Jesus) was virgin born but not mohammed or any other islamic prophet?

Thanks again for all your work on another good read!

locomotivebreath1901 on March 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM

What a GREAT question (and comment). How is that issue resolved?

CrimsonFisted on March 30, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Reading the background of the times of Mohamed’s Arabia, with all the pillaging and raping going around, maybe there were no virgins left.

:)

Shy Guy on March 30, 2008 at 2:44 PM

logis on March 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Well said.

Shy Guy on March 30, 2008 at 2:47 PM

That’s crazy.

malan89 on March 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM
That’s Mohammed.

Shy Guy on March 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Forward that to Parker and Stone. It would make a great new series title.

TBinSTL on March 30, 2008 at 4:02 PM

Robert

I have a different question.

Listening to your interview on Blog Talk Radio, I heard you mention that the Shia have some extra verses/chapters in the Qur’an that usually isn’t found in standard editions. Two questions:
1. Do you know any place where those extra suras can be found? Or are they just extra ayats within the existing suras? Even then, where are they available?
2. Will you be covering those as well? Reason I ask is that if there are any distinctive features of those that make the Iranians and Hizbullah stand out differently from, say, the Pakistanis and Hamas, that would be instructive.

infidelpride on March 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM

That’s Mohammed.
Shy Guy on March 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Yid With Lid has a good post titled ‘Muhammed Was Meshugga’

bikermailman on March 30, 2008 at 5:48 PM

I have a tough time understanding female converts, specifically Western females.

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 11:16 AM

I read once that poor and working-class women in mixed and Muslim neighborhoods in European cities convert to be protected from the Muslim men who hang out on the streets and harass passerbys. Uncovered western woman are asking for sexual attention in the street, or on public transportation, and the society offers them no protection from these men. Covered muslim woman are left alone.

Sorry don’t have a specific link to back that up. Here’s one I found after googling “european woman converts to Islam”

JiangxiDad on March 30, 2008 at 5:49 PM

venividivici:

The fact that Muslims can actually believe that cock and bull story is pretty definitive proof of their intellectual inferiority. I know most Muslims are illiterate half-wits…

I condemn and disavow such statements in the strongest possible terms. I do not believe in the collective or innate intellectual inferiority of Muslims or any other group, and do not believe that most Muslims are half-wits.

Talk like this is not only false, it is highly damaging to the anti-jihadist cause.

Religious belief does not always proceed on the basis of rationality and evidence, and that is true not just of Muslims. I am not saying that all religions are equal or that none are true. I am a religious believer myself. But I do not believe that there are no reasonable people who have views differing from mine.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM

locomotivebreath1901:

Versus 66-71 state,

“Those who doubt the resurrection will not escape the Day of Judgment.”

How do the mohammendans square the koranic principle of ‘no original sin’ with a resurrected body? What’s wrong with the original one allah gave them? And what becomes of this earth once the ‘true’ muslims are all in paradise?

The original one dies, thus necessitating a resurrection. That’s essentially it. This earth will, according to many scenarios, be destroyed — after the Muslim prophet Jesus returns to earth, defeats the Dajjal, and destroys his evil followers.

Finally, any word on why Isa (Jesus) was virgin born but not mohammed or any other islamic prophet?

Well, the obvious answer from a non-Muslim standpoint is that Muhammad had heard stories of the Virgin Birth of Jesus and incorporated them into the Qur’an. But in Islam, as I have said before, reasoning from particular truths to a conclusion is not generally considered to be wise. So Jesus’ being born of a Virgin and Jesus’ returning at the Last Day and Jesus’ being sinless do not, for Muslims, mean that Jesus was greater than Muhammad or any other Prophet. These are just singular features Allah willed to give him. But Muhammad is still the greatest prophet because he received the perfect book, the Qur’an.

Still, many Christian evangelists throughout history have used the Islamic Jesus to try to show Muslims that there is something singular about Jesus, and to introduce in that way the Jesus of the New Testament.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 6:19 PM

so much revelation about my boy Jesus… yikes

Drunk Report on March 30, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Infidel Pride:

Listening to your interview on Blog Talk Radio, I heard you mention that the Shia have some extra verses/chapters in the Qur’an that usually isn’t found in standard editions. Two questions:

1. Do you know any place where those extra suras can be found? Or are they just extra ayats within the existing suras? Even then, where are they available?

They’re relatively easy to find on the Internet. They’re known as Surah Al-Walayah and Surah Al-Nurayn.

However, it isn’t that simple. They aren’t bound into Shi’ite Qur’ans, and many Shi’ites reject them as forgeries and claim that they were invented by Sunnis to discredit Shi’ites. Yet there is evidence, including some from Christian missionaries who don’t have a dog in this hunt, that some Shi’ites do accept them, despite the denials of others (Shi’ites, after all, refined the concept of taqiyya). Some have claimed that the missionaries exaggerated this in order to use these two suras as proof that humans could produce a “sura like it,” in response to the Qur’an’s challenge, but of course if these two suras are indeed part of the Qur’an, then they would just be like it, they would be it — and so I tend to think that the word of the missionaries and others who attested to the Shi’te acceptance of these suras (including a Shi’ite Kurd who told me about them years ago) was accurate.

2. Will you be covering those as well? Reason I ask is that if there are any distinctive features of those that make the Iranians and Hizbullah stand out differently from, say, the Pakistanis and Hamas, that would be instructive.

No, they’re just Shi’ite triumphalism, that’s all. Nothing that instructive. And no, because of their highly disputed status, I do not plan to cover them.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 6:38 PM

That should read above:

…but of course if these two suras are indeed part of the Qur’an, then they wouldn’t just be like it, they would be it…

Instead of this, the way it is now:

…but of course if these two suras are indeed part of the Qur’an, then they would just be like it, they would be it…

Sorry. But it is Miller Time, after all.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Judeism and Christianity are based on individual standards: “As long as *I* do the right thing, and try to behave in a way that is fair to others, all will turn out right.”

But Islam is a collectivist philosophy: “Individually, our lives may be a living hell, but once the last bastion of infidels has been brought under a single yoke then the world will magically become a paradise.
logis on March 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I don’t agree with that part of your post.

Islam is all about getting what you want in this life while preparing for Paradise in the next life. That’s really the key to why Islam is such an attractive thing for so many people. What women like about it, I’ll never know, but it’s perfect for even the average man.

It is a collectivist philosophy, but it’s only that in terms of how it affects each individual member. Offense to one is an offense to the whole group. Unity under Islam is THE most important thing because it allows every individual grievance and desire to be seen as a threat to the entire group. That’s why thousands demonstrate and riot at such seemingly trivial things as novels and newspaper articles. If one person is offended, they all must be offended because while each individual can make up their own mind, none of them can deny that the group represents Allah. Therefore an insult to one member must be defended by all, because that insult is seen to be directed at Islam. Islam itself, not Allah.

At the same time, there is no rule under Islam that any Muslim has to follow if they don’t want to. All of the Five Pillars have exceptions, or “outs”, that allow a Muslim to simply ignore any they don’t want to do (except the one that makes a Muslim a Muslim in the first place).

It really is perfect. You get to do whatever you want. You can ignore anything you don’t want to do. And you get to go to Paradise in the end. You can’t judge others, only Allah does that, and if you’re convinced that you will pass muster with Him, nothing you do will matter anyway. Allah will sort it all out. So kill whoever you want. If you happen to pick the wrong person, that’s OK as long as your motive was pure under Islam. Allah will know that you meant well and you will get into Paradise, and he will take care of your victims, too, so they are not your problem.

Muslims may say “we”, but it’s all about “me”. And they have the perfect justification: they have the last, literal, true word of God on their side.

Jaynie59 on March 30, 2008 at 7:06 PM

I condemn and disavow such statements in the strongest possible terms. I do not believe in the collective or innate intellectual inferiority of Muslims or any other group, and do not believe that most Muslims are half-wits.

Robert, with all due respect, historical philology is not a field in which something like the Muslim claim that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures have been falsified can be let to slide by as if it were just another metaphysical claim, and not subject to the laws of historical evidence. It’s one thing to say “Mohammed got his revelation from Gabriel”, which is pretty much a strictly metaphysical claim, and another thing to say “Mohammed says that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were falsified and were originally a revelation of Islam”. That’s the cock and bull story and, yes, anyone who believes that is intellectually stunted because all of the information is available to disprove that very empirical claim. There are thousands and thousands of manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments that all say pretty much the same thing and exactly zero manuscripts that say what Mohammed said they should say. I think these facts should be broadcast far and wide in the Muslim world. Unless we’re now using different standards of historical evidence as yet another placation of Muslim sensibilities. I recall reading a story on Jihad Watch recently about how Muslims don’t believe there was ever a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Well, tough, there was one and it isn’t going to fly to let Muslims say that because Islamic history doesn’t mention a temple in Jerusalem, that means there wasn’t a temple in Jerusalem. One needs to uphold some kind of universal intellectual standards, even with religion.

As for Muslims’ collective intellectual inferiority, I do believe that national IQ tests show that Muslim countries generally score in the middle third of the pack, with Turkey leading the pack with an average IQ of 90. Clearly, we are not even dealing with “average” intellects across the board.

Talk like this is not only false, it is highly damaging to the anti-jihadist cause.

Perhaps, I am of the opinion that the Muslim world needs to be given a dose of hard medicine in the way of debunking its claims to Truth with a capital “T”. Getting Muslims to admit their religion is false is part of the anti-jihadist cause because the reason Muslims act on their religion’s dictates is because they believe they are true. If Muslims make specific claims about the scriptures of other religions that can be shown to be historically false, the intellectually honest among them will have to therefore repudiate Islam.

Religious belief does not always proceed on the basis of rationality and evidence, and that is true not just of Muslims. I am not saying that all religions are equal or that none are true. I am a religious believer myself. But I do not believe that there are no reasonable people who have views differing from mine.

Mohammed’s “mistake” was in making very concrete historical claims about Hebrew and Christian scriptures. In his own day, the likelihood of a Muslim finding out the truth was low, so it was a low-risk strategy on his part. In today’s day and age of archeology and philology we know that Mohammed’s claims are simply false. Since Islam is a special kind of philosophy where each and every claim must be true in order for any of it to be true, Mohammed’s false claim about the earlier scriptures falsifies the entirety of Islam. Again, this needs to be broadcast time and again until Muslims understand the ramifications. I have no problem with people having differing views from my own, but if the method by which they attained those views is logically flawed or based on flawed historical analysis, I don’t see how I am doing them any favors by pretending they are valid views.

venividivici on March 30, 2008 at 7:43 PM

venvidivici:

…historical philology is not a field in which something like the Muslim claim that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures have been falsified can be let to slide by as if it were just another metaphysical claim, and not subject to the laws of historical evidence.

That’s not what I said. In fact, I said in the Q-Blog for Qur’an 10:94-95 that the existence of copies of Jewish and Christian Scriptures dating from before Muhammad’s time creates immense difficulties for Islam’s truth claim. But to conclude from that that every believing Muslim is a half-wit is a huge and unwarranted leap that assumes that every believing Muslim has examined this evidence or even has access to this evidence, which is by no means the case.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 8:00 PM

So Jesus’ being born of a Virgin and Jesus’ returning at the Last Day and Jesus’ being sinless do not, for Muslims, mean that Jesus was greater than Muhammad or any other Prophet. These are just singular features Allah willed to give him. But Muhammad is still the greatest prophet because he received the perfect book, the Qur’an.

Did Muhammad himself ever make any claim to being greater than Jesus, or is that just the interpretation of his followers?

Is there any explanation in the Qur’an for why God chose to give these extraordinary features (e.g., the virgin birth, sinless nature, triumph over Satan at the endtimes, etc.) to Jesus, and not to some other prophet (such as Muhammad)?

You’ve warned us before not to reason from truths to a particular conclusion; is that a specific teaching of Muhammad, or is that an interpretation of his followers?

AZCoyote on March 30, 2008 at 9:15 PM

…I have friends that were under the impression that mohammed lived BEFORE Jesus and that the koran is older than the New Testament…

Talon on March 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM

A wise man once said, “The highest price we pay for as a society is ignorance.”

I find myself in agreement with that assessment. This is why Mr. Spencer’s work is so important.

Spread the knowledge.

I appreciate that many here, through these posts by Mr. Spencer, are discussing this subject intelligently. This is what blogging should be about.

Doug on March 30, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Well stated

dentalque on March 30, 2008 at 9:29 PM

… there is no rule under Islam that any Muslim has to follow if they don’t want to. All of the Five Pillars have exceptions, or “outs”, that allow a Muslim to simply ignore any they don’t want to do (except the one that makes a Muslim a Muslim in the first place).

It really is perfect. You get to do whatever you want. You can ignore anything you don’t want to do. And you get to go to Paradise in the end…
Jaynie59 on March 30, 2008 at 7:06 PM

I don’t think anyone can say that Islam isn’t a personally restrictive religion. It makes a lot of demands on its adherents.

Yes, the dictates of Islam include a lot of “outs.” But they’re not based on whether or not you happen to feel like it; they all relate to the ultimate GOAL of Islam: territorial acquisition.

Slaughter of innocents, lying, theft, etc. are strictly prohibited by the Koran – except when doing so will further the prime dictate of Islam: gaining land, slaves and converts.

Even now, when we’re finally seeing some public discourse among Muslim leaders critical of terrorism, listen carefully to the words they use. I very often hear the word “adventurist” bandied about.

That’s nothing even remotely like the kind of language one would use when renouncing criminals. It’s more like listening to the board of directors of an investment firm criticizing a partner who is trying to expand too quickly. They’re all working toward the same end goals. It’s not that terrorism against infidels is “evil” per se; it’s just that the strategy is becoming too risky in the current environment.

logis on March 30, 2008 at 9:36 PM

Jaynie59 on March 30, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Jaynie, I agree with what you’ve said, in your earlier post as well.
As for the women, born and raised in islam and living under threats of violence or death if it’s even rumored they’ve done something, that’ll keep most in their places.

4shoes on March 30, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Women who revert to Islam are of similar makeup as women who travel a thousand miles to a murder trial because they believe the killer is innocent and is destined to be their love.

BL@KBIRD on March 30, 2008 at 10:51 PM

Robert

This is ot but I hope you will answer.

8:17, the verse about Allah entering the body of the believer at the moment they kill an unbeliever while Fighting in the Way of Allah.

I’ve read that it is to cull pride in a warrior and give the gory glory to Allah.

Has it also been used to soothe the troubled souls of those who have had to chop a thousand heads from dawn to dusk while “making a great slaughter in the land” before dividing up the booty?

BL@KBIRD on March 30, 2008 at 11:03 PM

Sura 19 sounds a lot like the basis of criticism Muslims would use against the Christians:

God is without an associate ~ inscription on the Dome of the Rock

In other words, Muslims would argue that Christianity is a polytheist religion because of belief in “the father, son, and holy ghost.”

Interesting to see that Muslims view their story as a continuum of Christianity and Judiasm, and as evolution, especially at this time of the oral-traditioned Arab culture transferring to paper-history.

TheEJS on March 30, 2008 at 11:43 PM

There’s a pretty good movie called Not Without My Daughter – JetBoy

Good call, Jet. I always let my friends watch my DVD of that movie, it should be mandatory viewing and shown on LifeTime (the Man Hater Network) every day.

The guy who played the husband was on Jimmy Kimmel talking about his role in Spider-Man 2.

Jimmy said “Do people recognize you?”

He said “One day a guy came up to me and said ‘Were you in Not Without My Daughter?’ Well, I thought, this is nice, I have a fan. Yes, that was me. And then the man punched me right in the face! … That was the best compliment I ever got!”

I know wanted to do that too! What a great actor (the Brits always have the best actors).

starring Sally Fields (of all people)

Ironic, isn’t it?

Tony737 on March 31, 2008 at 1:09 AM

But to conclude from that that every believing Muslim is a half-wit is a huge and unwarranted leap that assumes that every believing Muslim has examined this evidence or even has access to this evidence, which is by no means the case.

Well, my rhetoric may be colorful, but, when you combine the IQ rankings with the Arab state literacy rates of near 70%, along with Indonesia and Pakistan, two of the largest non-Arab Muslim populations, also having a combined literacy rate of ~70%, “illiterate half-wit” isn’t too far off from the technical description of a typical Muslim. Again, I acknowledge there’s a bit of emotional color thrown in.

By no means does every Muslim have access to this evidence, and, indeed there would appear to be every sort of institutional roadblock put in the way of the average Muslim, to shield him from these very damaging facts. However, when evidence in this vein (i.e. historical philology) is made available to Muslims, their reaction is rather, say, non-scholarly, as in the story of the students who threw their professor out a window for suggesting the Koran had a manuscript “history”.

Out of deference to your role as the blogger, I’ll keep my rhetoric more toned down if I make any future comments on your threads.

venividivici on March 31, 2008 at 6:13 AM

I find the affirmation that people who believe the Islamic superstition to be a true revelation are inherently stupid beyond the pale. I’ve met many true believers who come from the middle east hold doctorates in serious fields such as Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Like many people they don’t wear their religion on their sleeves and, over time, some have abandoned Islam mainly to become agnostic or atheist.

Judaism and Christianity have, for the most part, backed off from the literal interpretation of the nonsense found in Leviticus, Judges and some other places in the Old Testament to settle on allegorical interpretations. (Of course, this leaves them with the difficulty of determining what’s real and what must be interpreted.)

For me it is clear that Islam is a fabrication concocted by Muhammad and later codified, with modification in spite of what the believers say, into the form that is known today, between Muhammad’s death and the tenth century.

What is important today is finding a way to convince those who follow this cult to accept an interpretation that rejects Allah’s seemingly direct commands. I see no easy way to accomplish this but one has to hope that eventually the message will be heard.

Annar on March 31, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Judaism and Christianity have, for the most part, backed off from the literal interpretation of the nonsense found in Leviticus, Judges and some other places in the Old Testament to settle on allegorical interpretations. (Of course, this leaves them with the difficulty of determining what’s real and what must be interpreted.)

Annar on March 31, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Speaking as a Torah observant Jew, I can assure you that we have never reinterpreted any of the laws and edicts you are referring to. Not a single one of them.

The ability of their application today is all that is relevant. We have none of the difficulties you allude to.

Shy Guy on March 31, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Well, my rhetoric may be colorful, but, when you combine the IQ rankings with the Arab state literacy rates of near 70%, along with Indonesia and Pakistan, two of the largest non-Arab Muslim populations, also having a combined literacy rate of ~70%, “illiterate half-wit” isn’t too far off from the technical description of a typical Muslim. Again, I acknowledge there’s a bit of emotional color thrown in.

venividivici on March 31, 2008 at 6:13 AM

You’re gonna get your head chopped off if you keep on equating Muslims with famous fashion models and Hollywood personalities.

Shy Guy on March 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM

The idea that Allah has begotten a Son is “most monstrous”

Is it me or does this keep repeating over and over and over again? It would appear that Mo really had problems with Christian belief and had to continually hammer this part home. The whole “associating partners with Allah” thing being the most grevious sin you can commit (as opposed to, say, sawing someone’s head off) is really telling as to how much of a threat Mo saw Christianity to be. He’s really going out of his way to attempt to discount it.

crazy_legs on March 31, 2008 at 10:56 AM

In other words, Muslims would argue that Christianity is a polytheist religion because of belief in “the father, son, and holy ghost.”

IIRC (and Robert can correct me if I’m wrong), Muslems have a fundemental misreading of the Trinity. They think it’s God, Jesus, and Mary, and that Christians have elevated Mary (the partner of Allah) to god-status.

crazy_legs on March 31, 2008 at 10:58 AM

So Jesus’ being born of a Virgin and Jesus’ returning at the Last Day and Jesus’ being sinless do not, for Muslims, mean that Jesus was greater than Muhammad or any other Prophet. These are just singular features Allah willed to give him. But Muhammad is still the greatest prophet because he received the perfect book, the Qur’an.

Still, many Christian evangelists throughout history have used the Islamic Jesus to try to show Muslims that there is something singular about Jesus, and to introduce in that way the Jesus of the New Testament.

Robert Spencer on March 30, 2008 at 6:19 PM

So they recognize something like 30 Jewish prophets, as well as John the Baptist and Jesus, who they say spoke on the day he was born, was miraculously conceived by a virgin, never did any wrong, and is coming back to earth one day, but their prophet is the greatest prophet. Convenient.

From a Christian perspective, it’s striking how many of the old superstitions/traditions about Jesus and Mary that were never part of the Bible were incorporated in Muslim “scripture.” The Koran at times has almost the feel of the apocryphal gospels that were widely rejected as not inspired, like the so-called “Gospel of Thomas.”

tom on March 31, 2008 at 2:38 PM

I certainly don’t agree with describing either all or most Muslims as stupid and illiterate. But there was a good point made, that Muslims actually believe that the Jewish and Christian scriptures have been falsified. Even though they praise Jesus as faultless, virgin-born, etc, they will ignore anything Jesus said that contradicts the Koran.

The problem appears to be that knowledge of the Bible was rare in Mohammed’s time, so Mohammed made a number of errors that obviously contradicted the Bible he claimed to respect. This was not a problem when Islam was a backwater with no scholars, but as Islamic scholarship grew, the scholars had to confront the fact that the new prophet contradicted all the old prophets he claimed to accept. Of course, by this time it was in the Koran, so the only real alternative was to argue that the Jewish and Christian scriptures were corrupted.

But there’s a huge problem for Muslims in this, because the Jewish and Christian scriptures of today are the same as the ones of Mohammed’s day.

So historically speaking, the Koran fails one of the most basic tests of scripture.

Of course, since all Muslims know the Koran contradicts itself, I suppose the historical problem doesn’t weigh on the Muslim mind much.

tom on March 31, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Thank you, Mr. Spencer, for all the analysis of the Koran–it sheds a lot of light on why Muslims act the way they do toward Christians.

I find the Koran’s treatment of Mary, the mother of Jesus, very puzzling–most Muslims tend to revere Mary (even more than Jesus), yet in the Koran, Mary is sent away to give birth alone, with no one to care for her, while the Gospels of Matthew and Luke show Joseph to be a very gentle and caring husband, despite his own predicament of explaining to his neighbors Mary’s pregnancy before their wedding.

The Koran’s insistence on denying that God could have a son is also extremely puzzling, and is never really justified. Mohammed claimed that he received the Koran from the angel Gabriel, but in Luke’s Gospel, “the angel Gabriel was sent from God” to Mary, and announced to her that “you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son…he will be called the Son of the Most High”. (Luke 1:26-32) So, we’re left wondering whether Gabriel told Mary one thing and Mohammed the opposite (do angels really lie or change their minds?), or did Mohammed just make up the Koran and attribute it to Gabriel to give himself credibility, and not know what Gabriel had told Mary?

This is the major problem with Islam–Muslims are told that Mohammed is God’s ONLY prophet, so that everything is based on one man’s word, and no fact-checking is allowed. The New Testament was written by at least eight different people (the four Evangelists, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude) who describe each other’s actions, as well as thousands of other witnesses who could corroborate their writings, and they were familiar with the writings of the Old Testament prophets regarding the Messiah. Despite the writings of all of Jesus’ witnesses (who had died by Mohammed’s time), Mohammed had the perfect answer–proclaim himself to be God’s only prophet, deny the divinity of Jesus, and kill Jesus’ messengers. The battle continues to this day.

Steve Z on March 31, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Steve Z:

Mohammed claimed that he received the Koran from the angel Gabriel, but in Luke’s Gospel, “the angel Gabriel was sent from God” to Mary, and announced to her that “you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son…he will be called the Son of the Most High”. (Luke 1:26-32) So, we’re left wondering whether Gabriel told Mary one thing and Mohammed the opposite (do angels really lie or change their minds?), or did Mohammed just make up the Koran and attribute it to Gabriel to give himself credibility, and not know what Gabriel had told Mary?

The Muslim answer to this is that the New Testament account is corrupted.

This is the major problem with Islam–Muslims are told that Mohammed is God’s ONLY prophet…

No, Muslims aren’t told that Muhammad is the ONLY prophet. They’re told that Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Noah and Hud and Idris and all sorts of others were also Allah’s prophets. However, it amounts to the same thing, since the Qur’an is, they’re told, the only uncorrupted message of any of the prophets.

Robert Spencer on March 31, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Venivedivici

Normally I’d avoid characterizing adherents of any religion one way or another based solely on their texts: imo, different adherents of different religions should be free to believe what they like if they have a self contained set of scriptures that spells out what they need. However, since Islamic texts are unique in that they take the texts of 2 other religions and then grossly twist them, I do think that Muslims have earned that negative characterization. If you had a religion (and you do – Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, et al) that have nothing to say about Abraham, Jesus, Moses et al and neither endorse nor contradict Christian and Jewish claims about these characters, they wouldn’t be worthy of the same disrespect.

But Islam seems to be unique in this aspect, even though it was neither the last nor the only religion that was exposed to other religions which it came into contact with. After all, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism all were offshoots of Hinduism, and none of them went on to negate Hindu claims about the Hindu pantheon: instead, they abandoned that and formed new and different philosophies. While Robert is right in requesting that we abstain from incendiary comments about Mohammedans that’s easy to misconstrue, I agree with your views that for Muslims to accept the words of their texts about other people’s religion is beyond the pale.

infidelpride on April 1, 2008 at 2:01 AM

I don’t think anyone can say that Islam isn’t a personally restrictive religion. It makes a lot of demands on its adherents.
logis on March 30, 2008 at 9:36 PM

It really doesn’t make very strong demands on it’s adherents at all. There is no rule that can’t be ignored if the Muslim simply decides he doesn’t want to follow it. Some rules allow the Muslim to defy them if defying them helps the cause of Islam. The terrorists of 9/11 are just one example of how a Muslim can act any way he chooses if his motives are pure.

Take the Five Pillars: the most important is the one that makes a Muslim a Muslim. All you have to do to be a Muslim is to declare, to no one in particular, that “There is only one God and Mohammed was His Messenger”. That’s it. You’re a Muslim.

Ramadan is another Pillar. Do you know what Ramadan really is? It’s a farce. It’s a month long “fast” where the Muslim is not supposed to eat, smoke, or have sex from dawn to dusk. There are many exceptions to it, such as menstruating, pregnant, and breastfeeding women, or anyone with any kind of health problem that prevents them from “fasting”. Fasting? Going from dawn to dusk without eating? Puhleeeeze. That’s my average day. They have a nice meal every night, and a big feast at the end of it. Fast my ass.

Then there is the alms giving Pillar. Another farce. Every Muslim is supposed to give a certain percentage of his wealth to charity. There is no universal standard on what it is supposed to be. I read many pro-Islam sites and it differed as to what they are supposed to give. One site said it should be 1% of his annual income minus his house, car, and work tools. I make pretty good money and for me that would average out to about $2.95 a month. Oh, but get this: Muslims are not supposed to TELL anyone how much they give to charity because it is considered bragging and is frowned upon. AND, the DESIRE to give is enough to satisfy this Pillar. Yup, that’s right. A Muslim does not have to actually give any money to charity at all, if he decides he really can’t afford it, as long as he really wants to. (Ever wondered why the richest land on this earth is controlled by rich Muslims while the vast majority of its people live in squalor? Now you know.)

The pilgrimage to Mecca. This Pillar only has to be done once in the entire life span of a Muslim. And only if he is healthy and can afford it. So just put it off until you’re old and can’t go and you’re off the hook on that one. Besides, how much of a hardship is the Haj if you don’t mind crowds?

Praying five times a day. Nope. They don’t have to do that, either, if it’s inconvenient. Despite what the Flying Imans said, a Muslim does not have to pray five times a day if it’s not practical.

Beyond the Five Pillars, there are the Hadiths. The Hadiths cover just about every scenario there is. I call them “strings”. One will start out with a “narrator” or a “reporter” or a “witness” and then it goes in a string like this:

Abdul narrated that Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be Upon Him, said that stealing is always wrong.

Achmed reported that Omar said that stealing is always wrong unless it’s for a good cause in Allah’s name.

Marwan witnessed that Karim confided that the infidels and unbelievers were expected to be stolen from.

That’s a bad parody of it, but you get the idea. They really are like that.

Jaynie59 on April 1, 2008 at 3:12 AM

…different adherents of different religions should be free to believe what they like if they have a self contained set of scriptures that spells out what they need. However, since Islamic texts are unique in that they take the texts of 2 other religions and then grossly twist them, I do think that Muslims have earned that negative characterization.
infidelpride on April 1, 2008 at 2:01 AM

In order to respect Islam, one must insult every other religion.

If you don’t want to believe in Jesus, then don’t believe in Jesus. But Muslims don’t let it go at that; they claim to revere Jesus as a “prophet.” Oh, yeah… except for all those lies he told about being the son of God. And to top it all off, the Koran goes and corrects all the massive series of typographical errors in our Bible for us.

Now I hear somebody telling me that referring to Muslims as “illiterate camel-humping pedophiles” is somehow disrespectful? Nonsense; that’s the highest of praise. And it is very, very well deserved.

logis on April 1, 2008 at 5:59 AM

IIRC (and Robert can correct me if I’m wrong), Muslems have a fundemental misreading of the Trinity. They think it’s God, Jesus, and Mary, and that Christians have elevated Mary (the partner of Allah) to god-status.

crazy_legs on March 31, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Not so. Islam is against the elevation of Jesus as a divine being. Hence he is a prophet, according to Islam.

The monotheistic concept of G-d is equivalent in Judaism and in Islam.

See The Islamic Encyclopedia: The God of Islam.

For a detailed Jewish perspective, see G-d’s Incorporeality.

Shy Guy on April 1, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Not so. Islam is against the elevation of Jesus as a divine being. Hence he is a prophet, according to Islam.

The monotheistic concept of G-d is equivalent in Judaism and in Islam.

I don’t think I said it quite right. I know that they believe that there’s one God without any other aspects, and that no one but God is divine.

My understanding is that they have a fundemental misunderstanding of the the Christian three-in-one Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They think we worship God, Jesus, and Mary (no mention of the Holy Spirit) as the Trinity, elevating both Jesus and Mary to divinity and equal status with Allah, which is the most grevious sin you can commit (the whole assigning partners to Allah thing).

Again, Robert can correct me if I’m wrong here.

crazy_legs on April 1, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Crazy Legs:

You’re quite right. Islam believes Christians deified Jesus and Mary, who were ordinary human beings, albeit sinless (and Jesus born of a virgin).

See Qur’an 5:116.

Robert Spencer on April 1, 2008 at 11:53 AM

While Robert is right in requesting that we abstain from incendiary comments about Mohammedans that’s easy to misconstrue, I agree with your views that for Muslims to accept the words of their texts about other people’s religion is beyond the pale.

infidelpride on April 1, 2008 at 2:01 AM

Infidelpride,

I do find this aspect of Islam particularly malignant. As you say, to start a new religion doesn’t require that one denigrate other religions so directly.

Also, it speaks volumes that every powerful Muslim who is educated enough to speak out against this obvious falsehood doesn’t. I can only speculate at their motives, but the most obvious one seems to be power over the Muslim masses. Can you actually say to me that a Tariq Ramadan or a Sheik Qawadari doesn’t know that the Koran is wrong about the Jewish and Christian scriptures? Please. It takes a special kind of ***hole to let these BS stories live on as doctrine when they know better.

venividivici on April 1, 2008 at 8:07 PM