Here at last is Jihad Watch Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald's much-anticipated second part of "Islam for Infidels," "A Lesson From Humpty-Dumpty." You can read the first part here.
Hugh promises Part 3 will be posted next week, "delivered with alacrity by the same people who, some years ago, brought fresh installments of Nicholas Nickleby to eager crowds of print-hungry Americans, jostling one another on the wharves of Baltimore, as they waited for the ship from England, with its cargo of freshly-minted print, to arrive."
II. A Lesson From Humpty-Dumpty
Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque are handy defenses should Infidels show some interest in a critical scrutiny of Islam. But, strangely, the major press, radio, and television, have not shown such an interest in the more than 3 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. There have not been any programs on what is taught in madrasas, or spoken in the khutbas (sermons) at Friday Prayers. There are allusions to "fundamentalist Muslims" and, of course, to "moderate Muslims," but no discussions of what these terms mean. Commentators have stayed well away from any discussion of what is actually contained in the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sira, the latter two of which, together, constitute the "Sunnah" or the customs and ways of 7th century Arabia that are held, by most Muslims, to be models for behavior today.
The Jihad that promoted and justified the conquest of vast territories in early Islam and subsequently led to the subjugation, by the Muslim Arab conquerors, of far more numerous, settled, and advanced populations of non-Muslims. In turn, this that led to the institution now known as “dhimmitude,” under which those non-Muslims, those who were not killed or forcibly converted, were treated as “dhimmis” (from “ahl al-dhimma” or “people of the Pact”). Their condition did not vary much either in time (over 1350 years), or in space (from Spain to East Asia). Yet when historians of the Middle East, manage to spare only a sentence or two, even in large books, for the dhimmis by reference just to the “jizya” or head-tax, or at most, by adding the phrase “and other disabilities,” one has reason to question the value of the entire work. The dhimmi is one of the most misunderstood and superficially treated of subjects, not just by Muslims themselves, but also by a certain kind of Western sentimentalist who refers to the wonders of the Abbasid court of Haroun al-Raschid, or to Cordoba as the “ornament of the world” where, as in the rest of Islamic Spain, a supposed “convivencia” among Christians, Jews, and Muslims is said to have flourished, or to the supposedly benign “pluralism” of the Ottoman Empire. What needs to be studied is the treatment of those once-vast non-Muslim populations that, over time, were largely converted as their own cultures and civilizations were subject to slow asphyxiation. Given the possible islamization of Western Europe, if forceful and systematic measures are not put in place, this matter has direct relevance today.
Islam is based on immutable texts. Muslims regard the Qur’an as the Word of God. The Hadith, those stories which purport to record the sayings, and deeds, and even silences, of Muhammad, are of great significance. For many Muslims, they serve as a kind of gloss on, and supplement to, the Qur’an, with almost equal significance. The Hadith number in the tens of thousands. To winnow the “strong” or most authentic Hadith, from the “weak” Hadith regarded as of less authoritative, or even doubtful authenticity, occupied many muhaddithin, or Hadith-scholars, in early Islam. They worked by studying the narration-chain, or isnad, by which these stories were related: A told to B told to C told to D. If A was one of the Prophet’s companions, and B and C and D were all known to be trustworthy, then the Hadith in question would be regarded as “strong.” If there were some problem along the way, the Hadith would be regarded as “weak,” and the size of the problem would determine the amount of the “weakness.” The collections of several of the mudaddithin, especially Bukhari and Muslim (a proper name), are believed to observe the greatest fidelity to the truth. The number, and “authenticity” of the Hadith, cannot now be tampered with.
And the Sira, or life of Muhammad, the man regarded by Muslims as the perfect model, al-insan al-kamil, simply cannot be rewritten to omit those unpleasant parts, in which he, as a successful military leader leading his troops against non-Muslims, behaved in a manner that would cause modern Infidels concern. Muhammad participated in 78 battles, he approved of the beheading of the prisoners taken among the Bani Qurayza, he ordered an attack on inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis in order to seize booty, he ordered the assassination of those who offended him, including a woman (Asma bint Marwan), and a 90-year-old man, he married Aisha, a 6-year-old girl, and consummated that marriage when she became 9. His behavior inspired the Ayatollah Khomeini to reduce the marriageable age of girls to nine.
When such contemporary would-be “reformers within Islam” as Irshad Manji (a flamboyant Canadian who, though born into Islam, does not by birthright possess a thorough grasp of Islamic tenets, or the history of previous attempts at reform), are given attention, and the admiring interviewer does not bother to raise the awkward question – just how does one “reform” a religion when all of its canonical texts, Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, are immutable – then the listener is left in the dark, or misled as to the likelihood, or even possibility, of “reform” within Islam. In the modern history of Islam, the heyday of supposed “reformers” was the period 1900-1930. This corresponded to the revelation, to the most advanced people in the Muslim world, of the weakness of Islamic countries and societies, and the understanding, not always expressed, that this weakness, these political and economic and intellectual and social failures, were attributable to the tenets of Islam itself, and the attitudes, the atmospherics, they engendered. But there is no such recognition today. Islam is cushioned from its failures by the accident of geology that provides the oil wealth to some, by the solicitousness with which Infidel countries hasten to supply foreign aid, including military aid, to others, and by the attitude of extreme deference toward Muslim sensibilities that, if continued, will have catastrophic consequences, for the Infidels themselves, and for those who, within Islam, would like to create the conditions where Muslims themselves, no longer able to avert their eyes from such failures, will have to do something about Islam, whether to interpret away its literalism, or to constrain its practice in the manner of Atatürk.
If there is no grounding in Islam itself, all discussion, argufying, opinion-making, about Islam and everything related to it (such as the Arab-Israeli matter, or the question of the future islamization of Europe, or the wisdom of the “Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations” Project that some in the American government have presented as a plausible, worthwhile, eminently doable undertaking in Iraq) becomes pointless. It is a waste of time, these words first uttered or written by an ignorant pundit for a trusting audience. If commentators, news broadcasters, columnists persist in presenting their views on Islam, full of clichés and slogans, and cannot be bothered to study either the tenets, or the history, of Islam, then the public, and the government as well, will persist in its ignorance, its naiveté, its negligent attitude about the most serious of matters – those upon which the fate of peoples, countries, and civilizations may well rest.
The media have a duty to discuss the attitudes toward Infidels that Islam encourages, by offering the real contents of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, not sanitized or expurgated versions (such as Michael Sells's Approaching the Qur'an) or carefully-crafted handouts of Qur'anic verses where, for example, Sura 9 is omitted entirely. Its audience should not be kept in the dark about the doctrine of “abrogation” (naskh), which will enable them to understand that Muslims do not receive all Qur'anic verses as equal. To do less or, as now, to do nothing, is intolerable. For neither the Iraq War, nor the likelihood of success for the Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations Project planned for Iraq (which for Infidels would result in their enhanced security), can be properly evaluated without understanding Islam.
The Arab-Israeli dispute, a topic obsessively discussed on every conceivable news program and guaranteed to receive sinisterly hypertrophied coverage around the world, is raised on every occasion by every Arab or Muslim spokesman whatever the ostensible matter at hand, and always discussed as if it had nothing to do with the promptings, or teachings, of Islam. But surely, in the Middle East, among Arabs who are almost entirely Muslims, the main subject to be analyzed is Islam. What does it teach? What are Muslims taught to think? Would it not be useful for listeners and readers, to come to understand that in Islam, no Infidel state, whatever its dimensions, can be permitted, for that would violate the essence of Islam. Islam, said Muhammad, is “to dominate and not to be dominated.” No land once part of dar al-Islam can ever fall under Infidel control again. The whole world belongs to Allah, and to his people, the Believers, but pride of place must go to the territories once conquered by the forces of Islam. The land on which Israel now sits, and other lands, including the Balkans, much of south-central Europe, much of Russia, most of India, and of course Spain, were once all part of dar al-Islam, and must be returned to it. But Israel, an Infidel sovereign state run by the despised Jews, and sitting smack in the middle of dar al-Islam, is particularly disturbing. If it remains a sovereign state, not only is land once Muslim not yet regained (as the whole world will eventually be either regained, or gained, for Islam), but the non-Muslims in it will not be living as dhimmis, subject to Muslim rule, and owing whatever rights they have to Muslims. And this is impossible under Islam. Infidels can be permitted to exist only as dhimmis, and in such a non-Muslim state as Israel they would no longer be dhimmis.
If the Islamic basis for Arab opposition to Israel were understood, then much that is otherwise undiscussed because it cannot be understood, and confuses and unsettles commentators with prefabricated and fixed narratives, would become clear. The hostility to Jews by the Arabs existed long before the state of Israel was declared. The Jews of Mandatory Palestine did not follow the script the Arabs both expected and demanded, and failed to recite their traditional lines as “dhimmis,” submissive to, and dependent on, Muslims in a world run by Muslims.
It was bad enough that the Christians of Lebanon in the post-Ottoman period did not always behave as dhimmis, for they were at least kept constantly on edge, especially when their traditional protector, France, showed it had thrown in its lot with the forces of Islam to curry petro-dollar favor. But the Jews declaring the state of Israel represented an even worse affront – for by inheriting the Ottoman state-owned domains, Israel possessed land that was supposed to remain Muslim land. Between dar al-Islam and dar al-harb a state of war exists until the final spread of Islam across the globe. In Israel’s case, it is irrelevant what its borders are; if it exists, it remains an affront, an outrage, a catastrophe, the greatest injustice in the history of the world (as Arab spokesmen routinely say). The very phrase a “final peace settlement” rings hollow to anyone familiar with the tenets of Islam. For there can be no “final peace settlement” between Muslims and non-Muslims, anywhere. The model for treaties between them is the agreement made between Muhammad and the Meccans in 628 A.D., the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya. It was supposed to be a “truce” treaty that would last 10 years. It lasted scarcely 18 months, when Muhammad, feeling that his forces had grown sufficiently, breached the agreement on a pretext, and attacked the Meccans. As Majid Khadduri notes in War and Peace in the Law of Islam, this Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya became the model, and basis, for all future “treaties” with Infidel peoples and polities.