War is deceit
An Islamic apologist apparently feels free to spread falsehoods about Muhammad to a small forum in Bakersfield, California. What does this have to do with jihad? Everything. Because as Muhammad said, "war is deceit." Does Yusuf Estes consider himself in a war? And shouldn't Western non-Muslim diplomats keep in mind the "war is deceit" principle when dealing with leaders of Sharia states?
"Islam exposed to receptive audience: Some came from Bay Area to hear speaker’s informative discussion," by Eman M. Shurbaji for Bakersfield.com, April 10 (thanks to James):
What’s the difference between read and recite? What’s the true meaning of jihad? Do Muslim women really have to wear the hijab (headscarf)?
At the “Islam Exposed” conference last Saturday, Sheik Yusuf Estes spoke to a packed crowd at the Beale Memorial Library auditorium in an effort to answer some of these questions. He broke his talk down into simple lingo using scenarios based on the contexts and times in which the Prophet Muhammad lived.
For example, despite the ill-informed belief that the Prophet looted and stole from caravans, he was nicknamed “al-Sadiq,” which means “the trustworthy one” in Arabic. Furthermore, his honesty and sincerity in his transactions as a merchant led to a marriage proposal from his boss, Khadija.
"The ill-informed belief that the Prophet looted and stole from caravans"? It seems unlikely that Yusuf Estes could stand all day on the busiest street in New York City and find five non-Muslims who believe that Muhammad looted and stole from caravans -- this doesn't seem to be a popular "misconception" that needs refuting. But since Yusuf Estes mentioned it, let's look at the record. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's earliest biographer and a pious Muslim himself, when Muhammad moved to Medina, the Muslims began raiding Quraysh caravans, with Muhammad himself leading many of these raids. Muhammad’s first raid was at a site known as Al-Abwa or Waddan, where the Prophet of Islam hoped to meet and overpower a Quraysh caravan. They did not find the Quraysh there, but the raids continued.
These raids were not solely designed to exact revenge from the people who had rejected the Prophet who had arisen among them. They served a key economic purpose, keeping the Muslim movement solvent. They also became the occasion for the formation of some key elements of Islamic theology — as in one notorious incident when a band of Muslims raided a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, a settlement not far from Mecca. Muhammad sent one of his most trusted lieutenants, Abdullah bin Jahsh, along with eight of the emigrants—long-standing Muslims who had left Mecca for Medina with Muhammad—on a journey. He gave Abdullah a letter with the order that he not open it until he had traveled for two days.
Abdullah complied, reading the letter after two days of journeying. “When you have read this letter of mine proceed until you reach Nakhla between Mecca and Al-Ta’if. Lie in wait there for Quraysh and find out for us what they are doing.” Abdullah seemed to suspect that this mission would be perilous; he told the others: “The apostle has commanded me to go to Nakhla to lie in wait there for Quraysh so as to bring us news of them. He has forbidden me to put pressure on any of you, so if anyone wishes for martyrdom let him go forward, and he who does not, let him go back; as for me I am going on as the Prophet has ordered.” All went with him. Abdullah used the word “martyrdom” just as modern-day jihad terrorists do: referring to one who (in the words of a revelation that came to Muhammad much later) “slays and is slain” for Allah (Qur’an 9:111), rather than in the Christian sense of suffering unto death at the hands of the unjust for the sake of the faith.
Abdullah and his band came upon a caravan of Quraysh carrying leather and raisins. They considered the matter: “If you leave them alone tonight they will get into the sacred area and will be safe from you; and if you kill them, you will kill them in the sacred month”—for it was the last day of the sacred month of Rajab, when fighting was forbidden. They decided, according to Ibn Ishaq, to “kill as many as they could of them and take what they had.” On the way home to Medina Abdullah set aside a fifth of the booty for Muhammad. When they returned to the Muslim camp, Muhammad refused to share in the loot or to have anything to do with them, saying only: “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.” He was put in a politically uncomfortable position as well, for the Quraysh began to say: “Muhammad and his companions have violated the sacred month, shed blood therein, taken booty, and captured men.”
But then another helpful revelation came from Allah, explaining that the Quraysh’s opposition to Muhammad was more offensive in his eyes than the Muslims’ violation of the sacred month: the raid was therefore justified. “They question thee, O Muhammad, with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: warfare therein is a great transgression, but to turn men from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing” (Qur’an 2:214). Whatever sin the Nakhla raiders had committed in violating the sacred month was nothing compared to the Quraysh’s sins. Ibn Ishaq explained this verse: “they have kept you back from the way of God with their unbelief in Him, and from the sacred mosque, and have driven you from it when you were with its people. This is a more serious matter with God than the killing of those whom you have slain.” Once he received this revelation, Muhammad took Abdullah’s booty and prisoners. Abdullah was considerably relieved, and asked, “Can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given the reward of combatants?” Here again Allah answered in a revelation: “Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape the persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (Qur’an 2:218). The redemption of Abdullah and his band of emigrants was complete.
This was a momentous incident, for it would set a pattern: good became identified with anything that redounded to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them, without reference to any larger moral standard. Moral absolutes were swept aside in favor of the overarching principle of expediency.
And apparently Yusuf Estes has learned this lesson.
The article continues:
The invitation of Estes to Bakersfield was part of an effort to allow for more dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. Estes, a former Christian missionary, entered Islam through dialogue. A Texas native, he now lives in Virginia and travels throughout the country giving talks about Islam.
Dialogue? Dialogue based on deception? To whose advantage is that?