How Islam Can Truly Become the Religion of Peace

Taj MumbaiGlobal Islamic terrorism has made many Muslims to propose Islamic solutions to terrorism. Jerry Thomas reviews three of such proposals by Muslims and suggests a fourth one from Quran.


26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai have shocked the nation. While we may leave it to the government to investigate the truth behind the attacks and punish the guilty irrespective of their identity and religion, Islamic terrorism and its solution are once again at the forefront of public discussion. While adequate security measures are needed to protect people, we are under illusion if we think that Islamic terrorism can be defeated by state machinery alone or even by counter attacks.

The people who suggest BJP as the solution are actually suggesting massacre and human pogrom as the solution. It is not that BJP has better intelligence or greater ability- Kargil and Parliament attack happened under their watch, it is just that they want a replay of Gujarat. This ‘solution’ is more revealing of a fascist and insensitive heart than an actual solution itself.

Islamic terrorism is fundamentally a religious ideological issue and the fact that this religion is the second largest religion in the world should not be ignored. Therefore we must evaluate the Islamic terrorism and its solutions proposed by Muslims themselves and propose a new one if required.

There have been at least three different types of approaches that Muslims have proposed against terrorism. We will briefly look into those three and evaluate those.

First Approach:

1. Islam Does Not Teach Terrorism: In India , Islamic community at large responded by claiming that Quran does not teach terrorism. Darul Uloom Deoband[1] and Sunni Clerics[2] have issued Fatwa against terrorists and even against Dawwah preachers like Dr. Zakir Naik who covertly support terrorism. While one may give credit to these schools for at least taking this stand, this approach is the weakest and has been mired in unsolvable problems.

Problems:

 A. Quran Does Teach Jihad: As Yoel Natan pointed out there are at least 164 verses in the Quran which support Jihad which primarily means war against non-Muslims. The list is here: 002:178-179, 190-191, 193-194, 216-218, 244; 003:121-126, 140-143, 146, 152-158, 165-167,169, 172-173, 195; 004:071-072, 074-077, 084, 089-091, 094-095,100- 104; 005:033, 035, 082; 008:001, 005, 007, 009-010, 012, 015-017, 039-048,057- 060, 065-075; 009:005, 012-014, 016, 019-020, 024-026, 029,036, 038-039, 041, 044, 052, 073, 081, 083,086, 088, 092, 111, 120, 122-123; 016:110; 022:039, 058, 078; 024:053, 055; 025:052; 029:006, 069; 033:015, 018, 020, 023, 025-027, 050; 042:039; 047:004, 020, 035; 048:015-024; 049:015; 059:002, 005-008, 014; 060:009; 061:004, 011, 013; 063:004; 064:014; 066:009; 073:020; 076:008[3].

B. Quran, Hadiths and Sira’s Does Teach Jihad: Bill Warner, the director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) notes that the trilogy of Islam (Quran, Hadiths and Sira) does teach about the ill-treatment and annihilation of the Kafir. In fact, it establishes one treatment to the Muslims and another treatment to non-Muslims.   Bill Warner says “The Trilogy advances one set of ethics for the Muslims and another for the kafirs. A Muslim is not to lie to another Muslim; a Muslim may lie to a kafir, or not. A Muslim is not to kill another Muslim; a Muslim may kill a kafir, or not. And so forth.” And if the golden rule “treat others as you wish to be treated” is applied to this trilogy, Bill Warner notes that “about 61% of the Koran vanishes, 75% of the Sira and 20% of the Hadith also go away.[4]

C. Muhammad Practiced Terrorism and Early Commentators of Quran Supported It: One of the most leading scholars on Islam as of today, Sam Shamoun notes that “Muhammad went through three specific stages depending on his circumstances, stages which Muslims implement till this day.” The first stage was “Preach tolerance when outnumbered by unbelievers/ No retaliation stage”, followed by the second stage “permit Defensive Fighting when there are enough Muslims and weapons to successfully carry it out” and the final stage being “after amassing a large number of soldiers and resources permission is given to carry out Offensive Warfare in order to kill the pagans and humble the Christians and Jews”[5]. As Sam Shamoun notes that classical commentaries like Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, and as-Suyuti supported terrorism against non-Muslims including raping of non-Muslim woman.

Unless, the current Islamic scholars who denounce terrorism address these issues and resolve them, their words do not carry much weight either to the terrorists who believes in all these or to the outside world who suspiciously looks at these.

It is not that Christians and non-Muslims are highlighting these issues. Some well-meaning Muslims themselves have understood the grievance of the issue and therefore are suggesting a new solution.

Second Approach:

2. Quran Only Movement: Numerous Muslims including the popular Islamic reformer Thomas Haidon proposes that Muslims must reject Hadiths and Sira’s and hold on to Quran alone. www.quran-islam.org is the website of one such popular group. They argue that "You will find that the Sunna of Allah is the only Sunna" (and cite ayats like Surah 33:62, 35:43, 45:6, 48:23 etc to show that man made books like Hadiths and Siras should never be used. Also they cite at least six incidents of Muhammad erring in Quran itself- 8:67-68, 9:43, 9:113-114,  33:37, 66:1, 80:1-11) Muhammad cannot be a model without errors.

There are surely certain benefits for this approach.

Benefits:

A)     Islam without Muhammad: If one were to reject Hadiths and Siras, then it will be a Islam without Muhammad as there only four references to Muhammad by name in Quran and five if we include Ahmed as Muhammad’s name. So this is equivalent to rejecting Muhammad as a model. If one were to know what the model of Muhammad is, s/he has to only read www.faithfreedom.org of Ali Sina an ex-Muslim atheist. In fact as A Muhammad of Quran only movement notes “God commands the believers to obey God and obey the messenger, but God also makes sure that the obedience to the messenger is linked to obeying the message he delivered and nothing else. Obeying the messenger does not mean that he had a Sunna to be obeyed.[6]

B)     Islam without Sharia Law: If Hadiths are rejected, then the possibility of having a Sharia law is meager. If the oppressive Sharia law is rejected, then more than anyone else, Muslims themselves will benefit.

However, this Quran only approach has its own problems:

Problems:

A)     It Still Does Not Solve the 164 Jihad Verses: Even if one were to reject the entire corpus of Hadiths and Siras, Jihad verses are very much a part of the Quran. The solution proposed does not even address the problem. What are we going to do with these verses?

B)     It Does Not Propose a Hermeneutical Tool to Interpret Quran Especially its Contradictory and Unclear Verses: Despite Quran’s own claim that it is clear, Quran itself contradicts and says  that many of its verses are not clear (Surah 3:7). Al- Tabari, one of the greatest scholar ever lived in Islam comments on this verse in his Tafsir: It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book (this Qur'an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkam (commandments, etc.), Al-Fara'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers, etc.)]; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials, etc.), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding.

C)     If Muhammad is not the Model, then Who is the Model for the Humanity? It must be remembered that Quran itself commands that “Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day" (Sura 33:21). If Muhammad is not the model, who then is the best and infallible interpretation and expression of the word of God? The second approach does not address this issue also.

It is in realizing that Quran contains many unclear and contradictory verses, which cannot have any explanation without Hadiths and Siras, a new third approach has been proposed by certain Muslims.

Third Approach:

3. A New Quran Movement: Khalim Massoud, the president of Muslims Against Sharia, an Islamic reform movement and his fellow believers have deleted the violent verses and most of the contradictory verses from Quran and have produced a new Quran available at http://www.reformislam.org/

Their argument is that if Quran is the word of God, then it cannot have violent and contradictory verses. Then they assume that all the violent and contradictory verses are interpolation and have deleted those verses.

This approach though raises the question about how anyone can delete verses from self-claimed revealed book certainly has a f

ew benefits. Its major benefit is that it solves the problem of Jihad Verses in the Quran. By deleting most of the violent verses from the Quran, these Muslims have surely solved the problem of Jihad in the Quran. When the unclear and contradictory verses are thus edited, Quran becomes a readable book.

However, this approach has its own problems:

Problems

A)     Its Method is Arbitrary: It must be borne in mind that many of the terrorists though do not delete the peaceful verses in the Quran nevertheless considers those as abrogated and therefore invalid.  The new method does not give an objective criterion for someone to accept and reject verses in the Quran. If some are allowed to delete violent verses and keep only peaceful verses, why not others delete the peaceful verses and keep only the violent verses- it finally depends on the concept of God one holds to. This approach does not provide criteria even to arrive at the concept of God.

B)     It still does not solve the Problem of Not Having a Model: The verses in a book need an example of life as an exposition to clarify its meaning. If Siras, Hadiths, and a few verses in Quran are rejected, who will be the role model for humanity?

 The solution that one proposes should have (a) an objective criterion to accept or reject any verses in the Quran (b) it should also address the issue of a model for humanity.

It is in this context, that I propose that solution is given in the Quran itself.

Fourth Approach:

4. Al-kitab as the Authority and Criteria: In fact, Quran itself says:

Sura 2:53:  “And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee” Further Quran calls Al-Kitab as the criterion.

Surah 10:94:  "And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (between right and wrong): there was a chance for you to be guided aright."

Sura 10:37: "This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the Book, wherein there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds."

Sura 5:50: "And let the People of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed in it. If any fail to judge by what God has revealed, they are licentious."

Thus we see that Al-Kitab is the book that Muslims need to check when they are in doubt, in Al-Kitab there is no doubt and Al-Kitab should be the judge and the criterion. It is not the Hadiths or Siras or arbitrary methods that should evaluate what is right and wrong in Quran. It is only the Al-Kitab.

Anything that contradicts in Quran with Al-Kitab should be rejected and anything that agrees with Al-Kitab should be accepted. No one can object in using Al-Kitab as criteria as Al-Kitab (the Holy Bible) is the true word from the only true God. Nothing can be objective than this.

Muslims may object to this approach. But they must understand that this approach is more Quranic than accepting Hadiths, or Siras or early Tafsirs to validate and understand Quran. Irony of irony is that Muslims have no objection in using Hadiths and Siras which Quran objects (using any man made books) which according to Muslims themselves is corrupted and unreliable but they have an objection in using Al-Kitab which Quran instructs them. This is nothing but egoism and it is this mentality that makes them to speak ill about Al-Kitab.

In fact, using Al-Kitab also helps Muslims to have a model for the humanity. Quran itself says that Jesus Christ is the word of God (S. 4:171), a mercy from God and one without fault (S. 19:16-21). What better expression can be there for the word of God other than the incarnate Word himself-the one without any fault.  If Al-Kitab is accepted as the criterion, judge, a book without any doubt, and the only book which should be consulted at times of doubt, Islam will have an objective criteria to reject ambiguous, contradictory and violent verses in the Quran and have Jesus Christ himself as their model.

There is no other way that Islam can satisfactorily solve the problems within it and can truly be called as religion of peace except accepting Al-Kitab (The Bible) as the authority, criterion, judge and clarifier of all truths and Jesus Christ as Al-Kitab reveals him.

Remember I have not quoted the Al-Kitab until now to suggest this solution though it would have been legitimate.

For Further Reading:

  1. The Quranic Witness to Biblical Authority (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/aboutbible.htm)
  2. The Quran on the Authority and Integrity of the Biblical Text, Part 2 (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/aboutbible2.htm)
  3. The Quran Agrees: Jesus is the most Exalted of all (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_most_exalted_q.htm)
  4. The Quran Also Agrees: Jesus Is the Most High! (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_most_high_q.htm)
  5. Jesus as the Mercy of Allah: More Quranic Evidence for the Divinity of Christ (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allahs_mercy.htm)
  6. Jesus Christ: Islam’s Greatest Prophet and Messenger (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_knows_unseen_q.htm)


[1] http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/7719059. stm
[2] http://www.dnaindia .com/report. asp?newsid= 1204534
[3] http://www.answerin g-islam.org/ Quran/Themes/ jihad_passages. html
[4] http://www.frontpag emag.com/ ARticles/ Read.aspx? GUID=A00F3895- 42BB-4A7D- 9FA5-4A19F3286EA D
[5] http://www.answerin g-islam.org/ Shamoun/na_ debate.htm
[6] http://www.quran- islam.org/ 95.html

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12 Responses

  1. gud article bro.jerry.iam happy to see how many muslim feel bad about what their fellow muslims are doing.and many even went on deleting jihad-verses.thats a gud attempt but what if osama come up with a new idea aabout deleting peace verses and bring a new quran with voilent verses????

  2. Dear Brothers ad sisters,

    Please pray for the ones who were attacted by the muhamadan cult, especiallly the ones who are suffering in the hospitals and those who lost their lives.

    My special prayers goes to my Jewish brothers and sisters who lost their lives at nariman house.

    Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and sister Rivka were people of God. A humble person who never used Isreali security to protect their family. He didnt stay in a posh locality even though Jews are one of the richest in the world. Always helpful people.

    May Lord give their family courage

    I pray to God to grant them eternal peace

  3. Dear Bro Jerry Thomas. Why dont you give public lecture around India.

    I dont understand why are churches so loose to support Christian apologetics.

    Every minute islamic eletronic media is insulting our faith.

    But still date Christian Tv channel have no apologetic programme in their schedule.

    We can check God TV, TBN, Miracle Net, EWTN etc.

    People like You and Sam Shamoun work does not reach the masses. neither do you get appreaction. Rather these pastors ask *In the end what do you get in defending* Or *Christ doesnt need defenders* etc…Even i have come across this.

    During the Da Vinci issue. The entire Christian community just protested even in the country of Pakistan. But Their was no body that I could find was able to refute the allegation logically.

    Same with Orrisa issue. I have seen the mionority commission leaders who are not trained in apologetics but made their way to Tv News channel studios.

    I remember his holoness Pope lecture on muhammad. Where a catholic spoke person was unable to answers the mullah on local Tv channel. To which Bro. Sam Shamoun has explained the issue during debating nadir ahmed. I think Pope was any ways right.

    I hope and pray that soon with the help of Mass Media and Public Lecture. Christian apologetics will reach many homes including the homes of the mohamadan cult of kaaba worshippers.

  4. The Islamic scriptures commands that a muslim should lie about his religion (drop in a message if you want the references), and the Islamic apologists obey just that. They falsely advertise Islam as the religion of peace, in these terrorist times.

    Like the Islamic Research & Educational Foundation in Hyderabad who had a dialogue between Hindusim, Christianity and Islam on ‘Peace’, on 29th Nov, ’08. They are either ignorant of their own scriptures (its jihad verses in no uncertain words command to KILL non muslims), or are obeying their scriptures’ command to lie about it. Either ways, the impressionable listeners (white caps who applaud everything their bearded one speaks, or in other podiums, abuses) don’t get anywhere near the truth.

    Search Al Kitab, O my dear Muslim, when you are in doubt. Then you shall know the turth, and the truth shall set you free.

    I am not saying this snobbishly my dear Muslim brother, or to look down on you – far from it. Just that I want you to be saved as well, through the blood of God Jesus. Because none of the christians too are saved just because they are born into christian families or go to church or do good deeds. We are all sinners equally, and can be saved only through Isa Al Masih’s grace.

    Give Truth a chance, bro. You don’t lose anything.

  5. History (told from omniscient future perspective) of Islam:

    1. the devil possesses Muhammadÿ pretending to be Gabriel.

    2. muslims kill everything on planet.

    3. Sunnis kill all Shiites.

    4. wahhabis kill all non-wahabiis.

    5. wahabiis kill all ‘imperfect’ wahabiis.

    6. god kills all wahabiis.

    7. the end.

    http://www.apostatesofislam.com

    http://www.faithfreedom.org

    http://www.jihadwatch.org

    http://www.prophetofdoom.net

    http://www.exmuslim.com

    http://www.formermuslims.com

  6. :grin

    You guys are very educated!!!

  7. Hey,

    No one wrote revelations to me until after some 70 years of my death.

    Then a staunch enemy of mine, Paul, claims to convert and writes stories.

    You guys do not have any Bible in its original language…only retrofits.

    My enemies killed me, then told you that I died for your sin. Now you cry all the time instead of understandign what has been done to you.

    Last Christian died on the Cross!!

  8. Recently while I was following the Media coverage on the Mumbai Terror attacks. For a moment we all came to the conclusion that there cant be peace on earth.

    It is very sad for us to see muslim leadership which has failed to bring any peace. If you observe them you will find the are more on Defence mode rather rectifying the internal problem with muslim community itself.

    While i was asking my muslim friend about the middle east issue regarding Isreal and Palastine, without hasitation my friend replied we should bomb Isreal that could be the solution. It was strange for us to hear such answer from him. Then I gave him the example of Tibet and the dalai Lama. Gandhiji Satyagraha. To which my friend was confused. Now it was interesting to see his reaction.

    My dear people all muslim are not terrorist. Its true they dont have any leadership. If they have any leadershp they get cheated. The hardcore mullas are taking advantage of such situaton.

    Majority of muslim in our country are backward, illiterate, poor. They have many social as well as other problems. There leaders divert their mind to Palestine, Isreal, Pakistan, Russia…But fails to clean up the domestic problems.

    I humble request to all Indian Muslim, Christian, Hindus is to react to get peace.

    Lets all pray so we soon see peace.

  9. excellent answers nquestions sir

  10. Very good article, but brother please circulate it to all over the world especialy on electroinc media as well.

    GOD Bless you

  11. jerry anna your presantation excelent you only can give the answer2 muslim bros i like you anna first i thanks 2 god your proveke presentation excelent really i felt …………. 2008 may 10 debate cd where should i get please forwed me address. infrontof you bro imran kid

  12. @ sherry : i do need the references that u said about…(that a muslim should lie about Quran)! produce your proof!

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