Ahmadi Muslim leader Qasim Rashid is, as Pamela Geller calls him, “a one-man cottage industry of deception and hypocrisy.” He has whitewashed Muhammad’s support for torture and the reality of jihad violence and Sharia oppression; dissembled about the Qur’an’s sanction of deception of unbelievers; lied about the presence of violent passages in the Qur’an; lied about the Qur’an’s sanction of beating disobedient women; lied about the nature of Sharia; called for limitations on the freedom of speech and expression to outlaw behavior and speech some Muslims may find offensive; and lied about Muhammad’s stance toward the persecution of Christians. When challenged about the “facts” he has presented, he (like virtually all other Islamic supremacists) responds with furious ad hominem contempt, but never answers the refutations of his articles on substantive grounds.
And here we go again, with one of this professional liar’s most dishonest presentations yet. Much more below.
“Jihadists Don’t Understand the Qur’an,” by Qasim Rashid, Time, March 24, 2016
This week’s Brussels attacks—like those in Ankara over the weekend, Paris in November and Kenya last April—are a scourge on humanity. They also represent the greatest possible misrepresentation of true Islam.
ISIS extremists and anti-Islam activists fundamentally ignore and misrepresent the Qur’an. It should come as no surprise that after suffering beatings for nearly a year as a ISIS hostage, freed French journalist Didier Francois reported:
There was never really discussion about texts or — it was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion. It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the Qur’an. Because it has nothing to do with the Qur’an. We didn’t even have the Qur’an; they didn’t want even to give us a Qur’an.
So the Islamic State jihadis didn’t want to give a Qur’an to a non-Muslim hostage, and Qasim Rashid presents this as evidence that “ISIS extremists and anti-Islam activists fundamentally ignore and misrepresent the Qur’an.” If they ignore it, how can they misrepresent it? But anyway, Rashid is lying again. The Islamic State doesn’t ignore the Qur’an, it quotes it frequently: in threats to blow up the White House and conquer Rome and Spain; in explaining its priorities in the nations it is targeting in jihad; in preaching to Christians after collecting the jizya (a Qur’an-based tax, cf. Qur’an 9:29); in justifying the execution of accused spies; and in its various videos.
It has also awarded $10,000 prizes and sex slaves in Qur’an memorization contests. One of its underground lairs was found littered with weapons and copies of the Qur’an. Children in the Islamic State study the Qur’an and get weapons training.
As for misrepresenting the Qur’an, one Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.”
The Qur’an presents the most humanitarian and advanced rules of war that the world has ever known. Yet extremists and anti-Islam activists resort to cherry picking and censorship.
For example, extremists and anti-Islam activists often argue the “progression theory”—which suggests that because the Qur’an begins with peaceful verses and apparently ends with violent verses, Muslims, therefore “progressively” become violent to their neighbors. Unfortunately, this bizarre theory finds no merit either in the Qur’an or in Prophet Muhammad’s practical example.
No one actually refers to a “progression theory” — do a Google search and see. Nor does anyone actually claim that “because the Qur’an begins with peaceful verses and apparently ends with violent verses, Muslims, therefore ‘progressively’ become violent to their neighbors.” This is an absurd straw-man hash of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, which is no theory: it is found in the Qur’an itself. “We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth better than it or similar to it.” (2:106) Islamic scholars differ as to the extent of abrogation, but there is general agreement that the Qur’an’s violent passages do take precedence over more peaceful passages. This is a doctrine almost as old as Islam itself: Muhammad’s earliest biographer, an eighth-century Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, explains the progression of Qur’anic revelation about warfare. First, he explains, Allah allowed Muslims to wage defensive warfare. But that was not Allah’s last word on the circumstances in which Muslims should fight. Ibn Ishaq explains offensive jihad by invoking a Qur’anic verse: “Then God sent down to him: ‘Fight them so that there be no more seduction,’ i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. ‘And the religion is God’s’, i.e. Until God alone is worshipped.”
The Qur’an verse Ibn Ishaq quotes here (2:193) commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until “the religion is God’s” — that is, until Allah alone is worshipped.
Does Qasim Rashid think that Ibn Ishaq is an “extremist” or an “anti-Islam activist”? Does he think that about the great medieval scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350), who also outlines the stages of the Muhammad’s prophetic career? Ibn Qayyim says: “For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God’s religion was fully established.”
In other words, he initially could fight only defensively — only “those who fought him” — but later he could fight the polytheists until Islam was “fully established.” He could fight them even if they didn’t fight him first, and solely because they were not Muslim.
According to a 20th century Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, “at first ‘the fighting’ was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory.” He also distinguishes two groups Muslims must fight: “(1) against them who start ‘the fighting’ against you (Muslims) . . . (2) and against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (II), Al-Imran (III) and At-Taubah (IX) . . . and other Surahs (Chapters of the Qur’an).” (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur’an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh ‘Abdullah is referring to Qur’anic verses such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)
During the first dozen years of Prophet Muhammad’s ministry in Mecca, Muslims faced brutal persecution, boycott and murder at the hands of Meccan society and government. Muhammad forbade any form of violence or retaliation—even in self-defense. Instead, he ordered Muslims to maintain patience and dialogue or to leave Mecca.
In reality, while Muhammad was at Mecca — that is, during the time he is widely assumed to have preached peace and tolerance — he approached at the Ka’bah a group of the Quraysh, the Meccans who opposed him, kissed the black stone, and walked around the shrine three times. On his third pass he stopped and declared: “Will you listen to me, O Quraysh? By him who holds my life in His hand, I bring you slaughter.” (Ibn Ishaq, 131.)
Most Muslims eventually fled for their lives. Some sought refuge under the righteous Abyssinian Christian King Ashama ibn Abjar. Others formed an alliance with the Jews of Medina. Muhammad soon fled for his life as well and was welcomed in Medina. The Jews and Muslims of Medina mutually agreed to make Muhammad their head of state, after which he promulgated the Constitution of Medina. Roughly 1,200 years before the U.S. Constitution, Prophet Muhammad’s secular Constitution guaranteed the equality of all citizens of Medina regardless of religion, maintained the universal freedom of conscience, and obliged Muslims and Jews to defend each other from external attack.
The Constitution of Medina is not mentioned in the Qur’an; it is first mentioned in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, which was written over 125 years after the accepted date for Muhammad’s death. Unfortunately for Rashid, Ibn Ishaq also details what happened to three Jewish tribes of Arabia after the Constitution of Medina: Muhammad exiled the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, massacred the Banu Qurayza after they (understandably) made a pact with his enemies during the pagan Meccans’ siege of Medina, and then massacred the exiles at the Khaybar oasis, giving Muslims even today a bloodthirsty war chant: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Funny how we never hear Muslims chanting, “Relax, relax, O Jews, the Constitution of Medina will return.”
And “secular”? According to Islamic tradition, Muslim rule in Medina was not secular, whatever the historicity or lack thereof of the Constitution of Medina. Muhammad, a self-proclaimed prophet, was the political leader of Medina, and claimed that his decrees were sanctioned by Allah — hence the Qur’an’s repeated calls to obey Allah and his messenger: see Qur’an 3:32; 3:132; 4:13; 4:59; 4:69; 4:80; 5:92; 8:1; 8:20; 8:46; 9:71; 24:47; 24:51; 24:52; 24:54; 24:56; 33:33; 47:33; 49:14; 58:13; 64:12.
For the first time in his life Prophet Muhammad had authority over non-Muslims. But instead of enforcing Islam on non-Muslims, like extremists and anti-Islam activists might suggest, the Qur’an 2:257 revealed: “There shall be no compulsion in religion.”
It’s actually 2:256. The fortunes of the Jews of Arabia after this verse was “revealed,” however, indicate that it was not considered even in Muhammad’s day to be an open-ended invitation to religious pluralism and a call to Muslims to coexist peacefully as equals with non-Muslims.
The Qur’an’s first verses addressing war were also revealed in Chapter 22 Verse 40-41. These inaugural verses place an immense burden on Muslims before they are permitted to fight. Muslims must first face faith-based violent persecution, flee their homes, be pursued, war must be waged upon them, and only then may Muslims fight in self-defense.
Subsequent verses must be understood in cohesion and in unison with these inaugural ones. Just as the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down interpretations of the Constitution that contradict established provisions, so, too, must we understood the Qur’an as a whole.
It was only after Meccan chiefs rallied a powerful army to pursue and murder every Muslim in Arabia that the Qur’an finally granted Muslims the permission—not the commandment—to fight in self-defense. Most significantly, fighting was not to enforce Islam, but to protect all houses of worship. Muhammad’s advanced rules of war also protected all non-combatants, animals, greenery and property.
Fighting was not to enforce Islam? “And fight them until there is no fitnah and religion, all of it, is for Allah” (Qur’an 8:39) Protect all non-combatants? “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: ‘They are from them.’” (Muslim 4321)
Extremists and anti-Islam activists also claim Chapter 9 of the Qur’an is the alleged “culmination” of violence against Jews and Christians. On the contrary, Chapter 9 affords the invading army an additional four months to cease their fighting and return to their own lands. Should an invading army comply, Muslims are forbidden from fighting. If, however, that invading army persists in their terrorism, Muslims are permitted to fight in self-defense to protect universal freedom of conscience—including for Jews and Christians.
Yes, freedom of conscience as long as the Jews and Christians knew their place, paid a special tax (jizya) and submitted to Islamic hegemony: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29
After yet another peace treaty was savagely broken, Muhammad peacefully marched on Mecca in the twilight years of his life. There, with the authority to exact punishment on the whole city, Muhammad offered carte blanche forgiveness. No one was forced to accept Islam; all were forgiven on the condition that universal freedom of conscience would remain free.
If this were true, why has the freedom of conscience become such a rare thing in the Islamic world? Why do the imitators of Muhammad pressure and harass (at best) non-Muslims all over the Islamic world?
Muhammad used education to end terrorism, and that is the best solution to end terrorism today. Under the Khalifa of Islam’s leadership, the True Islam and the Extremists campaign, which has garnered bi-partisan Congressional support and endorsements from thousands of Americans of many faiths, uses the Qur’an, Sunnah and ahadith to counter false narratives. As we mourn the victims of the Brussels attacks, let us unite, educate and advance true Islam.
Qasim Rashid and his “Khalifa of Islam” are so far from “True Islam” that they comprise less than 2% of Muslims worldwide, and are persecuted as heretics in Pakistan (where they aren’t even allowed to call themselves Muslims) and elsewhere. Note also Rashid’s final recommendation: “As we mourn the victims of the Brussels attacks, let us unite, educate and advance true Islam.” So in the wake of an Islamic jihad attack, he is calling upon Muslims and non-Muslims to advance Islam. Hair of the dog that bit ya, eh, Qasim?