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It is often claimed that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God. Yet, a closer analysis reveals that the Bible is rife with problems. This series will delve into the many issues with the Bible that prove it is far from being inerrant or infallible. Part one provides examples of the many missing scriptures.

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Video presentation of my post from September 30th, 2017 – War and Violence in the Bible and the Koran.

Intellectually honest people tend to approach any given subject without pre-conceived notions or biases. In order to get a sound understanding of the subject, they would go directly to its source, whether it’s books or it’s scholars. They would place utmost importance upon reading things in their proper textual and historical context. And they would avoid sources that are by nature, biased against the subject they are looking into.

For example, a person genuinely interested in learning about the teachings of Judaism would approach Jewish sources and Jewish Rabbis, not Neo-Nazi or other anti-semitic sources that are inherently hostile towards Jews and Judaism.

Another example, a person genuinely interested in learning about the teachings of Christianity would approach Christian sources and Christian priests or pastors, not anti-Christian or atheistic sources that are inherently hostile towards Christians and Christianity.

When it comes to learning about Islam however, things are a little different. In the western world, people looking into Islam more often than not start off with a bias. They look upon Muslim scholars with distrust, and inevitably end up learning about Islam from sources that have one goal: to misrepresent Islam as an inherently violent religion whose followers have a religious mandate to inflict violence on non-Muslims.

This post will address the one thing that anti-Islamic polemicists seem to be perpetually fixated upon: the war verses in the Koran, and their alleged connection to so called Islamic terrorism. While anti-Muslims come from many backgrounds and affiliations, this post is directed towards religious polemicists, and more specifically Christian polemicists, who in our opinion, are the most vocal in their opposition to Islam. It is not our purpose to debate or argue with them because their views on Islam have no bearing on the truths. But, for the sake of truth, and for the seeker of the truth, we have taken the effort to present an objective analysis of the Koran’s war verses.

In this regard, we will touch upon the following questions:

What are the historical contexts surrounding the Koran’s war verses?

Are they really timeless commands for Muslims to follow to this day?

How do the war verses in the Koran compare to the ones in the Bible?

(Please bear in mind that this post gives only a basic introduction to lay persons looking into this subject. There is no shortage of Islamic resources online and we encourage viewers to conduct their own research with an open mind.)

To begin with, it is no secret that wars and armed conflicts were part of the early history of Islam. No Muslim denies that the Koran contains several verses pertaining to armed conflicts that took place during the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammad. But what is of importance to us is the context surrounding those verses, as that dictates how a given verse is meant to be understood.

We will now briefly go over a small sampling of the Koran’s oft misquoted and misunderstood war verses:

Lets start with this verse, Surah 9 verse 5,
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them go on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

or this one, Surah 47 verse 4
So when you meet those who disbelieve in battle, strike their necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either confer favor afterwards or ransom them until the war lays down its burdens.

or this one, Surah 8 verse 60
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah, and your enemy.

Christians quote these verses out of context to misconstrue them as being timeless commands for Muslims to follow to this day. This is hypocritical of them because they understand the importance of studying verses in their proper context. When they read the Bible, they are careful enough not to take verses in isolation. Instead, they read them in light of the surrounding texts, while also taking historical and socio-cultural contexts into account. Yet, when it comes to the Koran, they habitually misrepresent it’s message by quoting it’s verses out of context. Their double standard should be obvious.

Either way, reading passages in their proper historical and socio-cultural context is a sound methodology. If it works for the Bible, it should work for the Koran as well.
We will now review the three examples mentioned earlier in their right context:

The first example, Surah 9 verse 5, is in actuality, a snippet of a larger passage consisting of 14 verses. When the full passage is read within its historical context, the real picture emerges: A specific group of pagan Arabs had violated a treaty by re-starting hostilities against Muslims. These pagans were given an ultimatum of four months to rethink their position on Islam; they had the choice to either convert and enjoy the rights of Muslims, or leave Arabia. During that period, the Muslim forces were commanded by God to protect pagans who sought peace and teach them about Islam. But once the four month period was over, the Muslims were permitted to finish the war that the pagans started.

The second example, Surah 47, verse 4, is another snippet from a larger passage consisting of 4 verses. When the full passage is read in it’s proper context, it becomes clear that the quoted verse is not a blunt order for Muslims to smite any one they wanted to at any time. Rather, it was targeted specifically at pagan combatants during an ongoing battle, and was in response to the oppression of Muslims.

The third example, Surah 8, verse 60, is yet another routinely misquoted snippet from a larger passage comprising of 5 verses. And when read in its proper context, it is simply about Muslim preparedness for war if their pagan enemies sought war. And peace, if their pagan enemies sought peace.

We thus see that the war verses refer to very specific wartime situations during the life of the Prophet Mohammad. We also see that polemicist have been misquoting the Koran’s war verses to distort it’s intended meanings.

Furthermore, three things become clear regarding the nature of the Koran’s war verses.

  • First. These conflicts were defensive or reactionary in nature. It is a historical fact that the early Muslims were persecuted physically, mentally and economically at the hands of the pagans. Things reached a point where Muslims were allowed to take up arms and fight back.
  • Second. The commands to wage war allowed for ceasefires and truces. So not only was fighting to take place only if the Muslims were attacked first, but fighting was also to cease if the enemy sought peace
  • Third. They war verses were specifically directed at enemy combatants, all of whom were male.

Please bear these three points in mind because we will revisit them later in the post.

War verses in the Bible.
Let us now shift our attention to the war verses contained in the Bible. Just how violent are they? How do they compare against the war verses in the Koran? And how do Christians explain and understand them?

Anybody who has read the Bible would know that the Bible contains numerous passages in which God commands the massacres of civilians in genocidal wars of conquest and revenge. The Bible’s war verses have not only provided modern day atheists with ammunition to use in their tirades against God and religion, but have also shaken the faith of many Christians, to the extent that they actually end up leaving Christianity.
The Bible’s war verses appear in the early parts of the Old Testament. Since there are so

many of them, we will only be going a few examples. Again, this is just to provide the viewer with a starting point from which he or she can perform their own research.

Our first example is taken from Deuteronomy chapter 20.
Verses 11 through 14, contains instructions for the Israelites, on dealing with the inhabitants of certain cities in the Promised land. Depending on the response of those people, the Israelites were to either enslave the residents of those cities, or kill all the men, and take their women, children and livestock and wealth.

If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

Our second example, is also from Deuteronomy chapter 20. In verses 16 and 17, we read that certain ethnic groups that were indigenous to the Holy Land, were marked for extermination.

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

In the civilized world, this would be tantmount to genocide.

Our third example is from 1Samuel chapter 15 verse 3, where the Israelites are ordered to kill men, women, children, infants and even livestock.

Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.

Bear in mind that these are only three instances in the Bible where God commanded the indiscriminate killings of entire populations; there are many others.

Christian theologians have always struggled with the Bible’s many horrific war verses. This is because the verses are not only morally problematic, but also completely contradict their narrative of God’s unconditional love, which is the foundation on which their theology rests upon. After all, how can they preach “For God so loved the world…” from the Bible, when that same Bible also contains God’s commands to massacre women, children and babies? Christian theologians have thus found it necessary to rationalize the killing of civilians, women and children. They have done so by contriving a variety of explanations:

  • Some play down the war verses by claiming their writers simply used hyperbolic language.
  • Some say that the foreign tribes had to be destroyed because they were simply too sinful to be redeemed; or because they posed a threat to the racial and cultural identity of the Biblical Israelites;
  • With regard to the killing of babies, some say that it was actually a mercy killing, because without their parents they would have died slowly out of hunger and thirst. Another explanation that has been given is that the children had to be killed, because they would have grown up resenting the Israelites, and would have one day waged a war of retaliation.
  • And some concede that they do not fully understand why God ordered those massacres, but nonetheless maintain that they fully trust God in everything He did.

Now, regardless of how Christians try to explain away the Bible’s brutal war verses, the bottom line is that they exist. There is simply no escaping the fact that God ordered the killings of non-combatants, including women, children and babies. Given this, it simply cannot be denied that the war verses in the Bible are markedly more extreme and savage than anything in the Koran.

The way Christians understand the Bibles war verses is quite interesting. They explain Biblical war verses as being meant for particular times and circumstances in the past, and no longer applicable today. Yet, when Muslims point out that its the same thing with the war verses in the Koran, Christians refuse to accept it for some reason or the other. Some might recognize this as a chronic case of special pleading.

As the old proverb goes, whats good for the goose is good for the gander. If the explanation that certain violent verses were meant for a different time and situation applies to one scripture, there’s no real reason for it not to apply to another. To still insist that the Bibles genocidal violence can be validly explained in this way but not the war verses in the Koran is a laughable double standard. Any Christian who makes this argument in a professional debate setting would be laughed out of the hall.

Difference between the Biblical and Koranic war verses.
Now, upon contrasting the war passages in the Bible with those of the Koran, we see 3 major differences.

The first difference is with regard to the conditions under which wars were to be fought.

As has been explained earlier, in the Koran, the overall pattern is that fighting was purely defensive and in reaction to the persecution by pagans. It is a historical fact that the early Muslims were persecuted physically, mentally and economically by their stronger pagan enemies. Things reached a point where Muslims were allowed to take up arms and fight back.

This is seen in verses like
Surah 2 verse 190, “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you”
Surah 2 verse 191, “if they fight you, then kill them”
Surah 22 verse 39 , “Permission to fight has been given to those who are being fought”

In contrast, most wars sanctioned by God in the Bible were offensive wars. Usually, these wars served no purpose other than the conquest of land. The Israelite persecution had ended by the time they entered the promised land. Following this, they waged genocidal wars of conquest sometimes wiping out entire tribes. The Israelites literally went from town to town killing all their inhabitants. Examples can be found in the books of Deuteronomy chapters 2, 3, 7 and 20; the book of Joshua chapters 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 and many other places.

The second difference is with regard to the conditions under which wars were to be ended.

The war verses in the Koran actually allowed for ceasefires and truces. Not only was fighting to take place only if the Muslims were attacked first, but fighting was also to cease if the enemy sought peace.

This is seen in verses like
Surah 8 verse 60 “if they incline to peace, then incline to it”
Surah 2 verse 193 “…if they cease, then there is to be no aggression”
and Surah 4 verse 90 “if they…do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause for fighting against them”

In contrast, the war verses in the Bible were unforgiving. They offered no conditions for peace, but were instead blunt orders for the complete annihilation of the enemy, and in many cases their women and children.

The third difference is with regard to the targets of military action.

We see that all war verses in the Koran were applied solely to male combatants. There is not a single verse in the Koran that advocates the killing of non-combatants, let alone women and children. In fact, Islam’s code of war that was based on Mohammad’s teachings categorically forbade the killings of non-combatants, women, children, the elderly, the infirm and monks. Evidence for this is found in numerous hadiths.
In this connection, prophet Mohammad’s close companion Abu Bakr said the following:

O people! I charge you with ten rules; learn them well!
Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

In contrast, the Bible very plainly states that under divine command, the Israelites targeted non-combatants, including women, children and babies. Examples of this have been provided earlier in the post, so there is no need to repeat them once again.

Thus, unlike the Bible’s binding commands for the Israelites to wipe out entire populations, the Koran’s war verses were directed towards combatants only, and were solely retaliatory in nature; and unlike the Bible’s final and binding commands to kill without mercy, the Koran’s war verses offered Mohammad’s enemies a way out by setting conditions for peace and truces. Thus, in every way, the war verses in the Koran are morally superior to those in the Bible. Christians probably know they can never win the debate through comparisons of the Bible against the Koran. So they take a different approach.

They argue that the war verses in the Koran are somehow different from the ones in the Bible, in that they serve as instructions for Muslims to follow to this day. But this is nothing more than a display of their own lack of integrity and willingness to sacrifice honesty to misquote the Koran. Claims built on foundations of dishonesty are feeble and collapse when subjected to academic scrutiny. And the claims Christian polemicists make against Islam are no exception.

Terrorism
At this point, Christian polemicists might shift their focus to the real world issue of terrorism. They may point out that it is the Koran, not the Bible, that happens to be the Holy Scriptures of most terrorists; and that it’s Islam and not Christianity that happens to be the religion of most terrorists.

Our response would be that it’s irrelevant because so called Muslim terrorists who shed innocent blood act contrary to Islam and the Koran. And since it has been demonstrably proven that the Korans war verses simply are about wars fought during the prophet Mohammad’s time and not commands to be followed for all ages, no so called Muslim terrorist can claim to be endorsed by the Koran.

This connects to the illogical argument that so called Muslim terrorists are somehow real Muslims simply obeying the Koran. Polemicists who use this argument imply that peaceful Muslims going about their lives, paying bills, raising families, enjoying sports, somehow stop short of being real Muslims. This too is easily debunked by the fact that the very nature of attacks against civilians, women and children, and even other Muslims violate the rules of war in Islam. Terrorists act on their own, and do so with a lack of regard to what the Koran actually says. Thus, Muslims can distance themselves from its extremists for the same reason that Christians and Jews distace themselves extremists among themselves. Neither terrorists nor anti-Islamic polemicists get to define Islam, or what constitutes a true Muslim.

As for terrorism, how is the word defined?

The word is broadly defined as being the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
These political aims could range from the overthrow of governments, expansion of territories, targeted killings and so on. It thus follows that any entity that uses unlawful force to achieve such aims, should be labelled terrorists. Yet, Christian polemicists, among others, associate terms like terrorism, and terrorists exclusively with Islam.

In reality, so called Islamic terrorism is a drop in the bucket compared to the terror of unlawful wars, invasions, bombings, drone attacks, military occupations, regime changes and other atrocities inflicted by the elected governments upon Muslims civilian populations. Deaths caused by actions of these governments, exceed those caused by so called Muslim terrorists by several orders of magnitude.

It would be dubious to think that terrorist attacks caused by ragtag groups of so called Muslim terrorists are somehow more grave than the destruction of entire nations by elected governments. Yet, this is the way anti-Muslim polemicists perceive the world. In their minds, the only acts of terror that should be emphasized upon are the ones carried out by so called Muslim terrorists. Their reasoning is that so called Islamic terrorism is somehow more serious because it is contains a religious element, namely, the alleged adherence of terrorists to Islam. But, as far as terrorism is concerned, words like religion and Islam are simply red herrings used to mislead and seize control of the narrative. If terrorism is defined as violence aimed at achieving political goals, then the involvement of religion, or lack thereof is irrelevant.

If “terror” can only be commited by people with a religious mindset, and if the lack of a religious element somehow justifies a crime against defenseless people, then it shouldn’t matter at all that tens of millions were killed under godless men like Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Our point is that religion does not in any way set the criteria to gauge the seriousness of a crime against innocent people. The popular notion that so called Islamic terror is more serious than state sponsored terror reeks of hypocrisy and should therefore be dismissed without consideration.

To conclude, Anti-islamic resources flooding the internet have one thing in common. Their writers rely on misquotation and distortion. ‎They may be perceived by their audience as knowledgeable on Islamic history and scriptures. But when their works are subjected to a fact based analysis, the thin veneer of their scholarship cracks and falls apart and their arguments are exposed as being full of double standards, deceit and bias.

 

 

Video presentation of my post from January 18th, 2014 – “No one can take my life from me” – Was Jesus really killed?

Video presentation of my post from October 13th, 2015 – 36 proofs from the New Testament that Jesus was not God

God willing, I will make more such videos.

 

 

1. The Bible tells us that Ishmael, son of Abraham through his second wife Hagar (Genesis 16:3), was sent away with his mother to the ”east” where he settled and started his own family. We also read that Abraham was distressed when he was asked to send Ishmael away(Genesis 21:11-13) and that God was ”with” Ishmael as he was growing up (Genesis 21:20).

Though the Bible mentions nothing about Ishmael’s life as an adult, it does record that Ishmael was present at Abraham’s funeral (Genesis 25:9). From this event, the following can be gathered:
a) Ishmael maintained a close bond with his father and step-brother. How else could he have heard of Abraham’s passing? And why else would he travel back to the land of his birth to attend a funeral?
b) Ishmael was most certainly worshiping the God of Abraham; he did not return to bury Abraham as a polytheist/idolater. The same cannot be said of Abraham’s other sons through Keturah, as they were not present at the funeral.
c) Ishmael would have certainly raised his children to worship the God of Abraham; he would have established a community of monotheists away from the land of Canaan where Abraham and Isaac lived.

2. Abraham did not send Ishmael away and forget about him. Rabbinic traditions and the 21st chapter of the Book of Jasher (referred to in 2Samuel 1:18 and Joshua 10:13) mention Abraham’s travels to the land where Ishmael lived. In summary:

Afterward Abraham went to see Ishmael, and, according to his promise to Sarah, stopped at his son’s tent without alighting from his camel. Ishmael was not within; his wife refused Abraham food, and beat her children and cursed her husband within Abraham’s hearing. Abraham thereupon asked her to tell Ishmael when he returned that an old man had asked that he change the peg of the tent. Ishmael understood that it was his father, took the hint, and drove away his wife. He then married another woman, named Faṭimah, who, when three years later Abraham came again to see his son, received him kindly; therefore Abraham asked her to tell Ishmael that the peg was good.
Source: Jewish encyclopedia

3. That Abraham traveled to meet Ishmael is in harmony with the Islamic belief that Abraham built the Kaaba along with Ishmael (Surah 2:127); this event implies that Abraham was physically present with Ishmael in Arabia. Thus, Abraham came to be known in Arabia during the lifetime of Ishmael. The later Arabs fell into idolatry and venerated Abraham, indicating that they had retained the memory of Abraham being their distant ancestor. According to a hadith (Bukhari volume 4, book 55, number 571) the Kaaba, upon conquest by Mohammad, was found to contain images of Abraham and Ishmael – obviously placed by pre-Islamic Arabs.

4. Abraham – through Ishmael – is thus historically linked to the the Kaaba, the Arabs and Islam. There is no denying that the Arabs, like the Israelites, had fallen into idolatry and polytheism; that changed in the 7th century AD when Mohammad conquered Mecca and restored to Arabia the monotheistic worship of the God of Abraham.

Here I have listed a number of youtube videos in which Rabbis and practising Jews from different parts of the world speak on Islam and Allah.

Since Christians have an affinity towards Jews, who also have the Old Testament (TaNaKh), I thought it would be better to let the Jews explain to their Christian friends the truth that Allah is the God of the Torah. But of course, the truth about Islam and Allah remains regardless of what a Jew or anybody else thinks.

Now, not all Jews feel the same way. Indeed, there exists a diversity of views on this subject among Jews; but it still remains that many practicing Jews recognize that the concept of God in Islam and Judaism are identical.

(Disclaimer  :  Please note that I may not agree with the views of these Rabbis on various other matters.)

 

Jewish Rabbi Praises Islam

Jewish Rabbi Admits Islam Is The Oldest Religion

Jewish Rabbi: Islam is religion of future

Jewish Rabbi Admits Muslims Are Blessed (interviewed by John Pastor Hagee)

Jewish Rabbi Worships Allah

Jew explains why Allah is the one and only God

Jew explains Allah – God of ISRAEL

 

Enjoy!