An Amazing, Firsthand Eye-Opener as to What "Moderate" Muslims Think Islam Is

Ahmed Rehab is the Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago (Council on American-Islamic Relations). We just had the following conversation that I want to share with you because I found it very eye opening as to what "moderate" Muslims think Islam is.

The conversation began when Ahmed posted this image:

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Tom Usher: Do those heroes know the Qur'an? Are they Muslims in name only?

Plenty of people calling themselves Christians have never read the Gospels (let alone the entire Bible). What percentage of Muslims have read even just the first 39 versus of Surah 9?

Those verses are scary for many who profess the Trinity (who are considered polytheists under Islam).

Ahmed Rehab: Why aren't you asking those same questions of the terrorists? What makes you want to assume that it is the terrorists who know the Qur'an while the heroes are Muslims by name only rather than the other way around?

Tom Usher: Why take questions as assumptions?

Ahmed Rehab: Because they are skewed. You didn't ask "Do those terrorists know the Qur'an? Are they Muslims in name only?" But you didn't.

Tom Usher: The terrorists are followers. Those they listen to and follow know the words of the Qur'an. It's not assumption. It's knowledge.

Tom Usher: What do you think of the verses?

Ahmed Rehab: If following the Qur'an makes you kill innocent people, then what does that make me in your eyes since I do not kill innocent people? A Buddhist? A weak Muslim?

Tom Usher: Do the verses tell you to kill? It's what they say. If you don't do what they say, what do you think it makes you? Are you being a Muslim per Mohammed's definition?

Tom Usher: In Christianity, if I don't do the commandments of Jesus, I'm failing.

Tom Usher: By the way, I'm glad you aren't following the verses.

Tom Usher: Peace!

Ahmed Rehab: I could answer those questions. Except you are barking up the wrong tree. My Qur'an is not on trial. My People are not on trial. My prophet is not on trial. Your logic is on trial. Your comprehension abilities are on trial. Your analytical abilities are on trial. Islamophobia is a logical fallacy. It is illogical to question whether a people or their beliefs or their prophet are violent when 99.9% of them are not violent, because 0.1% of them are. And I am being liberal with my percentages.

Tom Usher: That's not logical.

You could answer the questions? Well, you aren't following the verses because you don't agree with them. However, you don't say so openly.

What makes you think your Qur'an isn't on trial? It is being compared to the Gospels all the time.

Islam is not what people who call themselves Muslims do. Islam is what the Qur'an says.

Christianity is not what George W. Bush did to Iraq. Christianity is what Jesus said George should have done.

If you disagree, it's because you are obfuscating and rationalizing.

To be honest, to bring your statements in line with the way you act, which is not in accordance with the verses, what I suggest you do, rather than be defensive of what you do not actually defend but denounce by way of denouncing the terrorists, is to denounce the verses themselves that those terrorists are following and using to recruit more killers/gangsters.

Ahmed Rehab: You are not getting it. The Qur'an does not kill people. People do. The Qur'an is not a person. If 99.9% of people who say they follow the Qur'an are violent, then that would be a premise upon which to put the Qur'an on trial. But if 99.9% of people who say they follow the Qur'an are not violent and 0.1% of those who do are, then it is not logical to put the Qur'an on trial, but more logical to put the interpretation of the 0.1% on trial. So yes, it is an excercise in logic and your failing it.

Tom Usher: So, by your notion, George W. Bush and all the other so-called Christian-Zionists actually define Christianity rather than the actual teachings of Jesus. Well, then how is it that you understood what I meant by "in name only" in the first place and so quickly?

You didn't take exception to the expression.

You are the one who isn't getting it, unless you get it completely and are just doing what I said: rationalizing (yes).

You admit here that you don't follow the text your religion calls it's most sacred/Holy.

However, if you believe Mohammed is alive in Heaven and you claim to be a Muslim, you are seriously conflicted and in denial because he said you aren't going to make it but that Allah thinks very little of you (and that's putting it mildly).

It appears you don't want to face the text but just want to make up your religion as you go along based upon whatever those who call themselves Muslims do (they can morph into anything then and still be Muslims), as if you are a prophet, though your claimed prophet was the last and his words were not to be amended.

Oh dear.

I shake the dust from my feet. I tried. Amen.

Ahmed Rehab: Let me try again. Mother Theresa, the KKK, the good Pope Francis, The Westboro Baptist Church, the hordes behind the murderous inquisition and crusades, the good St, Ignatius, and Mel Gibson all claimed to be following the same book: your Bible.

When you say that it is not about the followers, it's about the book, the logical question is if there are people with such varying interpretations all following the same book, WHOSE interpretation do we judge the book by.

Naturally, you will say yours. But that's not a good answer because anybody including the Westboro Baptist Church will say you are a whitewashing hypocrit who is offending the Lord and it ahould be theirs.

Now, Both logic and islamic tradition resolved this with the concept of Ijmaa or consensus among the learned, followed by the closest thing to it: the majority. Now in the case Islam its both quantity and quality. That is both the overwhelming majority (majority of scholars AND majority of the public) as well as the weighted quality of those scholars (i.e. The most learned and respected) Both point to an anti-terrorism stance and anti-killing of innocents stance regarding all the verses in question. Additionally in practice, 99.9% are not violent and .1% are. Despite all of this, you will put 99.9% on trial rather the 0.1%. That outs you as unfair, slow, or blinded by agenda.

Tom Usher: You are rationalizing beyond the pale. There is no way around what the verses say. Claiming that they don't direct Muslims to kill Christians, etc., is not only slow, it's blatantly dishonest.

This is likely my last post on this thread because if you persist in your current way after reading the verses afresh, there's nothing I could say to you that would straighten you out.

The following are versus from The Qur'an, Surah (Chapter) 9:

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists [Mohammed considered Christians polytheists because of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as The One God] 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. (9:5; Surah 9:Verse 5)

O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists ["pagans" but the term also refers to Christians, ...] are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise. (9:28)

Fight those who do not believe in Allah [Jews, Christians, ...] or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah [taxes, tribute, protection money; it's where some of the "bounty" comes from] willingly while they are humbled. (9:29)

The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah [Jesus] is the son of Allah." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded? (9:30)

If you do not go forth [do not fight and kill], He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is over all things competent. (9:39)

What the above means is that the Christians and others will either convert or submit and pay protection money (extortion) or be killed. That's not even the half of it. The women will be forced to have sex (forcibly raped) and many, if not all, will be sold into sexual slavery.

Sameena Parveen: Tom Usher why would those verses be scary to anyone? I was so confused when I read your first comment and looked it up to see why you would say that. I noticed many sites and references to Surah 9 that have been completely misquoted, changed, wrongly translated and then used as some sort of proof that Islam is violent or the Quran is calliing on Muslims to be violent. This notion is completely false and you need not worry at all about that Surah nor any other one for that matter. Please stop using islamaphobic websites to reference Quranic verses and commentary. If you look at scholarly sources of commentary, this Surah, LIKE MANY OTHERS, is referring to specific historic events and how prisoners of war were dealt with after THAT SPECIFIC battle. If you need more clarification as to why my Brother Ahmed won't do as you say "denounce the verses", it's because there is nothing to denounce. I find it highly disrespectful and completely negligent on your part to reference Quranic verses when you are A) NOT A MUSLIM and have NO knowledge of what and how the Quran is used in Islam and B) that you would re-iterate hateful rhetoric from people WHO ARE NOT MUSLIMS and also have no knowledge about the Quran. The reason there are more than a billion and half followers of the Quran and Prophet Mohammed and 99.99% of them are not violent is because they rightfully follow the Quran. It is so abhorrent that you would believe a Muslim who is not violent is not practicing the religion or has denounced any verses of the Quran. Your statements are just horrible.

Tom Usher: Sameena Parveen, since someone else entered the thread, I will respond.

My quotations are directly from an Islamic site, and the sources are by Muslim scholars that, contrary to your wild assumptions, I have not seen are widely refuted by Islam in general (and I do take care about such things).

"...referring to specific historic events and how prisoners of war were dealt with after THAT SPECIFIC battle," as if Mohammed's commandments for the next battle or current battles would somehow sterilize what he told his followers to do, which things he told them he did not state are not to apply into the future concerning the polytheists.

Where do you get the idea that fighting the polytheists is something that Mohammed turned off? Where did he say, don't do this ever again until I tell you? How are the terrorists supposed to know when reading the text that it is not the way they are supposed to behave under Islam?

I'm glad I don't have to debate whether Jesus means turn the other cheek today but not tomorrow. He meant it then and for me now and for me tomorrow, or do you doubt it?

Look, if you're so peace oriented, why don't you retroactively denounce what Mohammed did? Would you do the killing now if Mohammed were to return and tell you to do it? You sound like you're trying to tell me that you wouldn't, but at the same time you aren't clear on it.

"...there is nothing to denounce." Oh really? Well even if it were to apply only to the time you claim (which it doesn't), I denounce it for cause because it was wicked.

So, I am not to quote the Qur'an because I am not a Muslim while your prophet passed judgment on my Holy Scripture calling it wholly distorted. Ah, the hypocrisy of it all. The founder of Islam can trash my Gospels, but I'm being disrespectful for quoting his verses.

"The reason there are more than a billion and half followers of the Quran and Prophet Mohammed and 99.99% of them are not violent is because they rightfully follow the Quran." We shall see.

"Your statements are just horrible." Yes, the truth does horrify people. I've seen that. I've been horrified by it myself.

Your religious upbringing has made you very confused in your thinking patterns. You claim logic but come up with some of the worse syllogisms I have ever seen. Your conclusions (and I'm speaking about both of you) rarely follow from your premises, many of which I don't accept in the first place because they are faulty.

Ahmed Rehab: So you are insisting that the interpretations and practice of 0.1% should be taken as valid over the interpretations and practice of 99.9%. Got it. Sorry you feel that way. I disagree. I think that's stupid. Bye.

You know, if the verses were poetic or in parable form or some other form rendering them even somewhat difficult to understand as to Mohammed's intent, then I wouldn't be so offended by Ahmed's approach on the specific language and context. However, that's not the issue with him. It comes down solely to numbers holding to a view (where it's unclear at best that even the majority have ever been over the verses in a serious manner or heard those who have approach them in a very straight forward manner, a manner not designed to excuse the hardness that Mohammed called for).

Note that the actions of Mohammed, whether only for that time or not, were never denounced and even though the terrorists are following the verses to the letter the way Christians are supposed to follow Jesus's teachings now just as much as they were to follow them when Jesus was walking the Earth.

Imagine a Christianity where what the vast majority of people claiming to be Christians do would redefine Christianity so far away from what Jesus said to do as to make it an entirely different religion. Ah, that's what many people are trying to do right now, just what Ahmed Rehad appears to be doing vis-a-vis Islam.

Why not just start a new religion with a different name rather than trying to drag a religion into what its founder would reject? I think they don't because they are insane, not just stupid.

Note this from a comment above: "...if 99.9% of people who say they follow the Qur'an are not violent and 0.1% of those who do are, then it is not logical to put the Qur'an on trial, but more logical to put the interpretation of the 0.1% on trial." Note especially the words "who say they follow." What is being assumed there? Well, it's being assumed that they've even read it or heard it. Rest assured, the terrorists have heard it.

Sameena Parveen: You are really ignorant Tom and your statements to both Ahmed and me are evident of that. You do not know me, you obviously don't know anything about my religion. There was nothing wicked about what happened at that battle. The prisoners were traitors, they were given 4 months to either leave, ask for asylum or continue their persecution and suffer the consequences. I don't see anything wicked about that. If you come after me, I capture you and you still try to attack me, what do you think should happen?

Sameena Parveen: I just read your translations of Surah 9 above after I wrote my last comment....You did not get them from a credible source. Please reference where you got them from.

Zainab Alma Mehkeri: Tom Usher, in order to help you better understand what Sameena was trying to say (that the passages of Surah 9 references actions after a specific time and place and are not commandments on future actions), I have taken the liberty to show you how the exact same thing occurred in the Bible.

In regards to how the God of the Jews and (later Christians and Muslims) wanted the Jews to treat pagans/polytheists after a specific time and place, much like the Surah you quoted. :

When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 5But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.6For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7 1-6

Does this mean that the Jews (who follow the Old Testament) and the Christians (who conjoin the Old Testament with the New Testament into their Bible) are commanded to do the same now? NO. Different time and place. Just like Surah 9.

In regards to how the God of the Jews and (later Christians and Muslims) wanted the Jews to settle accounts:

1One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the LORD who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the LORD! 2This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3Now go and completely destroyathe entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.” Samuel 15 1-3

Does this mean that the Jews (who follow the Old Testament) and the Christians (who conjoin the Old Testament with the New Testament into their Bible) are commanded to do the same now? NO. Different time and place. Just like Surah 9.

In regards to how the God of the Jews and (later Christians and Muslims) wanted the Jews to figure out arrangements with women as spoils of war (seriously referencing rape here):

When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her [i.e. rape her or engage in consensual sex], and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." Deuteronomy 21:10-14:

Does this mean that the Jews (who follow the Old Testament) and the Christians (who conjoin the Old Testament with the New Testament into their Bible) are commanded to do the same now? NO. Different time and place. Just like Surah 9.

Hopefully you can push your ignorance aside and understand what everyone has been trying to tell you.

Sameena Parveen: Ahmed, this has been a growing problem these days. Not only is our religion being hijacked by terrorists claiming to be followers of the faith but also by non-muslims who think they know what a real muslim should be.  I find this utterly stupid but we've failed in showing people the beauty of our Book. Muslims read the Quran everyday and have never come across any verse calling for violence against our neighbors. We understand the verses about battle to be in times of war and many are only historical in nature. What I think we need to do is to direct people away from incorrect sources that have blatantly misquoted and twisted the verses. I noticed your friend Tom won't reference where he got that specific translation from. I hope that people who are reading this thread will try to refer to credible, Muslim Scholarly sources when learning about specific verses. Here are a few articles about this surah. May Allah guide us all. http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/quran_95_commentary

Qur’an 9:5 Commentary

This verse, often called “the verse of the sword”, has been misquoted in a manner similar to the previous verses. First, we shall provide the verse in its context:

theamericanmuslim.org

Sameena Parveen: A brief video too: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152292466221104

The 'kill them where you find them' Verse Explained

09:34

99,400 Views

The Deen Show

Does Islam Promote Violence?

Q. Doesn’t Islam promote violence, bloodshed and brutality since the Qur’an says that Muslims should kill the kuffar wherever they ...

Does Islam Promote Violence?
Q. Doesn’t Islam promote violence, bloodshed and brutality since the Qur’an says that Muslims should kill the kuffar wherever they find them?

A: A few selected verses from the Qur’an are often misquoted to perpetuate the myth that Islam promotes violence, and exhorts its followers to kill those outside the pale of Islam.

1. Verse from Surah Taubah

The following verse from Surah Taubah is very often quoted by critics of Islam, to show that Islam promotes violence, bloodshed and brutality:

“Kill the mushriqeen (pagans, polytheists, kuffar) where ever you find them.” [Al-Qur’an 9:5]

2. Context of verse is during battlefield

Critics of Islam actually quote this verse out of context. In order to understand the context, we need to read from verse 1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriks (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriks of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriks of Makkah to make amends. Otherwise war would be declared against them. Verse 5 of Surah Taubah says:

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an 9:5]

This verse is quoted during a battle.

3. Example of war between America and Vietnam

We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them”. Today if I say that the American President said, “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them” without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war.

4. Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle

Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, “Kill the Mushriks wherever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them.

5. Shourie jumps from verse 5 to verse 7

Arun Shourie is one of the staunchest critics of Islam in India. He quotes the same verse, Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 in his book ‘The World of Fatawas’, on page 572. After quoting verse 5 he jumps to verse 7 of Surah Taubah. Any sensible person will realize that he has skipped verse 6.

6. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer

Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:

“If one amongst the pagans ask you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah(God); and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge.” [Al-Qur’an 9:6]

The Qur’an not only says that a Mushrik(Pagan) seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security?

This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world.

Bentley Patterson: Tom... FYI: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/01/09/free-speech-islam-charlie-hebdo-column/21458257/

Islam backs free speech: Column

Islam stands on its own merits, not by the guns and steel of extremists.

Suzanne Graham: Sameena, sadly, sometimes people will only hear what validates the opinion they already hold, and when presented with a different opinion or explanation, etc. they dismiss it as bunk.

These are people whose minds will likely never change.

I could address several people and try to explain that christians and jews are consideted "people of the book" as opposed to polytheists, and that many view the Quran as a continuation of the faith practiced by jews and christians, but not corrupted by men.

But I digress, they wont listen because they dont care.

Sameena Parveen: Suzanne, that makes me so sad.

Suzanne Graham: Its frustrating and disappointing, yes. I try not to let it get to me, but it is difficult. Just know...its not possible to reach everyone, but you can reach some. Try not to beat yourself up over the others

Tom Usher: It's pretty bad to claim that I won't supply a reference. I wasn't asked to but a short bit ago. A body does have other things to do, or are you under the impression that I'm going to hover over the computer waiting for each comment so I can instantly reply.

Try to remember that I'm the only one here posting from my side of the issue and that comments appear to be coming rather quickly now and that I suppose you would expect me to review the linked materials, etc.

This is the site I happened to use this time. I've visited plenty of others, more by Muslims than not by the way: http://quran.com/about

Please note that there are many questions that I have asked in my comments and replies here that have gone completely unanswered. I consider it evasion. Perhaps you can take the time and trouble to review my comments and the comments of others and answer.

Zainab Alma Mehkeri, yours is the most understandable of all the comments here. However and without attempting to be condescending, genocide is forbidden by Jesus. I believe you know that.

There are people who call themselves Christians who don't understand that the genocide called for in the Old Testament was never acceptable. You see, I said it. It is what I am waiting for any "Muslim" here to say about the war making under Islam, and I mean specifically the terrible things not only allowed but commanded, things that definitely were not necessary even if one agrees that self-defense is acceptable, which Jesus says it is not for the Christian.

Now let me add that I readily admit that I know vastly more about Christianity than I know about Islam, but we are stuck at a level here concerning Islam where you have not shown me anything new, anything I didn't already know.

I have read about the battles. You are all having a terrible time understanding that you are dealing with a pacifist here. You have to approach me understanding that I hold those battles as having been inherent failure on both sides.

Look, I'm not a Gandhi worshiper, but perhaps it would help you to understand that even he left tooo much room for fighting back for me from my reading of my text: The Gospels.

Now, I also realize that I am dealing with a better-educated group of Muslims than I typically run into on the Internet. That doesn't mean that I think you're doing a great job explaining or defending your religious position though.

As for the verses, would you fight in accordance with them now if instructed to do so by Mohammed? It seems a very simple, clear, and straight forward question? Please answer it yes or no. I don't have to tell you that you can add whatever you want but say it just so you don't think I'm trying to give you the courtroom treatment as a judge ordering just yes or no with no comment. I'm not puffed up here. I'm just a visitor here to discuss critical issues. Okay? I had already thought that I'd overstayed, and I was definitely not going to comment again except others started popping in.

If you want me to stop. I will.

Sameena Parveen: Are you asking me if the Prophet were alive, and I were in BATTLE as a fighter would I kill my enemies if they tried to attack me twice? I think I would have to if I was a member of the army who was fighting against an enemy who tried to attack me after my side offered them asylum and peace. This is what the verse is referring to....it doesn't give Muslims a right to commit murder which is how your original comment seemed to hint. Does this answer your question at all or do you not understand that Muslims do not believe in murder? You can find numerous aHadith (sayings and ways of the Prophet) regarding the evils of murdering innocent people. You are equating battle rules at time of war (9:5) to violence and murder of innocent people in non-combat situations. The first is permitted only at time of war by a nation and army, the other is prohibited AT ALL TIMES. I don't understand why you would ask Ahmed or me or any citizen this question? We are not at war Tom, I don't understand your constant need to ask this question of us? Honestly speaking, does anyone really know what they would do during battle? How am I (a mother who has never been in a physical fight, and has never been threatened by another person) respond to your question? What would you do if you were in the same situation? You and your family were being threatened, you joined an army. Your side won, your leader gave the remaining enemies a choice to live with you in peace, leave peacefully, or stay and fight and they chose to fight you again, what would you do?

Tom Usher: Suzanne Graham, the idea that Jesus as the son of God does not constitute polytheism under Islam is something I have never heard from a Muslim, and I've been in quite a few debates with Muslims in different venues. Are you actually claiming it here? Are you a Muslim?

The Qur'an appears to be extremely unequivocal on the issue.

Who else who is a Muslim who is reading this thread holds that the Trinity does not constitute a break with the monotheism envisioned by Mohammed?

Is this where Islam is morphing away from rejecting the Trinity?

I hope you aren't going to make the claim that the Gospels are the product of a conspiracy to dupe people rather than the true version of Christianity. There's a trail leading right back to the Gospel of John without any break that's just as solid as the trail to Mohammed. Very few people know that. So be careful what you say.

You'll have to explain why going from Jesus's words in the Gospels to Mohammed's words in the Qur'an is somehow progress. After all, if everyone were to choose Jesus's way, it seems clear that the world would be a better place than were everyone a Muslim. I know that if you are a Muslim, that will offend you; but it's how I see it.

I believe your Qur'an leaves gigantic loopholes that Jesus's words in the Gospels close (if followed).

Have you read the Gospels?

Karen Nooruddin: I wish I had time to read all of the above, but I don't. Tom Usher, what I noticed in some of your posts is that you think you have been reading from an Islamic site, but you may very well be reading from an anti-Islam site that is pretending to be Islamic so that their (sounds like Christian-themed) agenda can try to prevail, scare people away from Islam, and convert them to Christianity. History is full of those. I would suggest that you get links from the muslims here for authentic sites and materials. At some of the sites, you may also request free copy of the authentic Qur'an and other materials be sent to you. By the way an of the verses you are quoting that have parentheses, the parenthetical is someone's interpretation added into the English version.

Edip E Pektas: Tom, the only person "stuck here at a level concerning Islam" is You. I read the whole post with comments and it seems like you are doing nothing but insisting on hearing what you want to hear. It sounds like in your mind, you have figured out "the issues" about Islam and you want to hear from the muslims that you are right, well goodluck with that. If you think you have achieved anything, you just made your self sound really uneducated and narrow minded with all the things you have said. Bottomline Tom, I think your approach to interpreting some versus from the Quran is no different than those terrorists who have done the same. You are not open to dialogue and want to prove your self correct and for that matter that blinds your vision...

Karen Nooruddin: And very quickly before I go to bed, the verses about fighting after the holy months are a continuation of other verses, about the same historic battle, and they were fighting in self-defense, but there are some months when Muslims are told we are not to fight (can you imagine our modern day world leaders going to war to protect their lives - our lives - and saying "wait a minute.. we have to stop fighting 4 months of the year). And hadith you may have read having to do with executions after one of these battles was carried out according to the Biblical law of the those taken prisoner because the Prophet Muhammad had Islamic laws for Muslims, but he let people of other religions live according to their laws, with their own punishments for breaking them.

Sameena Parveen: Tom, I looked up your reference and I noticed you skipped from verse 5 to 28. Have you read verse 6? The VERY NEXT verse after the one you think calls on Muslims to commit murder on polytheists? Verse 6: And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of God. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know. Verse 7: ... So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them. Indeed God loves the righteous [who fear Him]. The next few verses talks about the enemies who pretended to surrender in peace but later defiantly disobeyed. I find it completely dishonest of you cherry picking verses, while conveniently leaving out other versers of the same Surah. What is your real intention here?

Tom Usher: Sameena Parveen, your answer falls far short of addressing all of the verses in terms of the views expressed by those verses about Christians.

This saying isn't limited to what you are saying: "...the Christians say, "The Messiah [Jesus] is the son of Allah." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them."

Come on. Can you imagine Jesus saying that about you? Honestly, you really think Mohammed didn't have a problem, an issue? Do you really think that the terrorists are way off based taking that saying as being for all time and everywhere.

How in the world does one battle limit that saying somehow? The battle is over. Now the Christians are no longer unclean and bad for believing that Jesus is the son of God?

The verses say that I am unclean because I am a Christian. I'm inherently unclean while I'm anti-violence? How is Mohammed cleaner than I am?

How did the end of the battle make me suddenly clean and acceptable?

I believe you are artificially pinning all those verses to that one battle whereas Mohammed was not.

You have asked me questions about what would I do in battle when I have already expressed quite clearly that I'm a pacifist. I hold that it is the superior path, the path of Jesus Christ. My answer is that Mohammed should have preached what Jesus had already preached rather than listening to some spirit telling him that what is said and written about what Jesus did and said is a pack of lies. Think about it. That spirit, assuming Mohammed's rendition is completely as he said, overturned the possibility of Christianity becoming the religion of all the Arabs rather than Islam. Think about how life would be now had all the Arabs been living and spreading the pacifism of Jesus rather than the fighting way. How can you possibly choose Mohammed's teachings over the Gospel message?

Tom Usher: Karen Nooruddin, I supplied the link. No one has said the site is "bad." I already knew that though.

Ali Abdul Hakim Ferraro: Hi Tom ! I personally find these types of conversation silly, and my eyes tend to hurt after a while, and I skip over lots of content (did I mention my eyes hurt? lol) because I see no value in the "me better than u/ me not who u think I is/ cave man rhetoric that most individuals get into when discussing theosophical paradigms (and my eyes hurt); yet I am a good friend of Suzanne and can vouch for her statements as impartial, logical, and completely sound, though I am no one special and you shouldn't (won't?) take my voucher seriously- YET I have an interesting synopsis of an essay by the greatest Muslim theologian ever that I would like to share with you, insha'Allah it may be of some benefit to you and others in regards to Muslim eschatology regarding the divine attributes of Jesus Christ. Enjoy http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articles/spirit.html

Tom Usher: Edip E Pektas, yours is a cop-out comment. I came here as a committed Christian who, of course, believes that Jesus Christ is divine, the son of God, and one with God. My position is that Mohammed's teachings, what he allowed, the things he did, the things he said about Jesus, all served to make things worse, not better and that in doing so, he led to more, not less, confusion in the world and has given the terrorists real reason to sincerely believe that they are doing right by doing what Mohammed did (yes, and things that Mohammed didn't go so far as to do), things which were not walled off by qualifying statements that non of it would apply after a given battle.

The terrorists believe they are in a battle every bit as much and as important as the one's Mohammed fought. Why would they not when the US has lorded it over them for so long, supporting Israel against the rights of the Palestinians, etc. I could go on for days about the crimes the US has committed against Islam, against Muslims.

Honestly, if I thought fighting is okay, including in only self-defense, and I were a Muslim in the Middle East, I'd make total war on the US.

Aren't you glad I'm an American Christian? I'm glad I'm a Christian anyway.

Tom Usher: Was selling women into slavery ever justified? Of course, you'll have to say yes because Mohammed allowed it.

How was I ever less clean than Mohammed when I say that putting people into such slavery was and remains an inherent evil.

Why can't you say that it was evil? If you were placed into slavery, wouldn't you believe you had been placed into an evil situation?

I'm asking in general terms here, not some rare exception where slavery is actually a leg up because things were so bad before. Even then, a slave owner could rather simply do the good part without enslaving.

Is stoning people right? Jesus said let the one without sin cast the first stone, or do you believe that some bishops changed what really happened? Why would anyone make that up? After all, if everyone were to become as good as those who dropped the stones and walked away, it wouldn't serve any evil purposes whatsoever.

Tom Usher: I'm calling it a night and will be working tomorrow during the daylight hours where I am rather than commenting here, but I won't fail to catch up on any new comments and to reply if I think it might be fruitful.

Ali Abdul Hakim Ferraro: Here is from the same site as before, but written within the context one of the varied Shia perspectives, scaffolded upon Sunni dialectics: :http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articles/rezashah.html

Jesus in the Quran: an Akbari Perspective

Ibn 'Arabi refers to Jesus as" symbol of engendering" (mathalan bi-takwin). It is my intention in this paper to...

ibnarabisociety.org

Tom Usher: I woke up with this, so I post it now.

Russell Brand is championing your view (http://www.russellbrand.com/2015/01/paris/), but he has bought into your sugarcoated interpretation of the Qur'an where the terrible deeds done on the orders of Mohammed, things which were and are completely disallowed by the commandments of Jesus, were done only at the end of the particular battle and which, according to the sugarcoated view, we are to take it, would possibly/maybe/it's unclear (most of the "moderates" appear to be unsure) never be repeated and that the verses cannot be used by the terrorists to justify what those terrorists are doing in their war against those fighting against those very verses, the spirit of those verses.

To give you an example in "Christianity" as some hold it, we have many who profess Romans 13:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:1-4 KJV)

Many people professing Christianity take that and follow the orders of the "powers that be," such as George W. Bush was when George took the US into a criminal war against Iraq.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:5 KJV)

So, George being wrathful and taking it out on the Iraqis, is something Paul wrote I must be subject to without objection because to object is to go against God.

Then he goes on to say:

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:6-14 KJV)

When taken all together and in contrast to the actual teaching of Jesus concerning "wrath" and whether Christians ought to act out on it right along with the "powers that be" (which Jesus said we should not), we have Paul sending out an extremely confused message, an anti-Christ message, whether wittingly or not.

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51-56 KJV)

The difference concerning Islam is that the verses in chapter 9 of the Qur'an are directly from Mohammed and are every bit as inconsistent with "love" at least as defined by Jesus in the Gospels, which the Muslims reject, by definition.

Ali Abdul Hakim Ferraro: Tom why are you ignoring my comments to you? I'm not approaching you with ego, or contempt, or animosity, but with love and a desire for commonality- much as I would expect our master Jesus the Christ (AS) to behave… and I'm sort of hurt and confused, because you keep talking about the greatness of Jesus (AS), and I want to talk about how great he is with you and everyone else for that matter; it seems that we have quite a bit in common, all things considered. I have always been interested in not only the dynamic between the cousins John the baptist (AS) and Jesus (AS), but also the purity of the virgin Mary (AS). I've also found the accounts of Jesus (AS) in the Nag Hamandi library quite interesting as well. But what has most confused me over the years is the question of why Simeon/Peter denied Jesus (AS)?; what has most inspired me is of course Jesus's (AS) love for humanity.

Ahmed Rehab: Everyone. Don't feed the troll. From the beginning he was angling for a religious apologerics debate so he can evangelize for Jesus. He's not in the least bit interested in Islamophobia or the topic of the post.

Islamophobia has nothing to do with the Quran or the bible as these Christian fundies keep yapping about. Most Americans and Europeans don't know or even care what's in their book let alone ours. Islamophobia is about wild and irresponsible generalizations, extending guilt by association, collective culpability for individual crimes and failure to accept and respect the individual faculties and decision making of Muslims thus dehumanizing them off their agency. This is all necessary for occupations, wars, resource theft, racism and racist and religionist constructs to be erected, justified, erected and defended.

Likewise anti-Semitism in 30's Germany had nothing to do with Germand reading and analyzing the Torah and everything to do with the above.

So skip this guy's tired old Thinly veiled Bible-thumping proverbial front door visits and don't let such people distract from the topic t hand. Read my responses to him above.

Thx

Abu Amina Elias: I agree. Don't feed the troll. I am at peace in Islam and within my community. If he chooses not to understand, then it is not my concern.

Tom Usher: I have answered the context of the "sword" verses in the Qur'an by addressing attention to the affliction that the West, NATO, the Coalition of the Willing, etc., have inflicted upon and are still inflicting upon, Muslims.

Has there been no "persecution" of Muslims in the sense meant by Mohammed? How many NATO military personnel pray to destroy those who are anti-Christ (don't believe in the divinity of Jesus) before they attack Muslims? Is this not the context that the Islamic State is waging war?

That is not to say that IS is following the Qur'an perfectly in every way those who use the "context" of battle after the breach of a treaty by the Mushriks (polytheists) put forth.

Is not NATO fighting against various divisions within Islam and pitting one sect against another to afflict Islam? Don't they arm the Zionists against the Palestinians? Have not the Zionists, backed by the United States, stolen the land right out from under the feet of Palestinian Arab Muslims who were minding their own business and not being aggressors against the Zionists? Did not those Zionists engage in ethnic/religious cleansing? Aren't they still working at it via their "settlement" expansions, which the US could have stopped long ago but didn't, and still doesn't, because of the "Christian Zionists" in the US and the Jewish-Zionists and their funding of pro-Zionism politicians in the US (and UK, etc.)?

Don't the various international treaties signed by the United States and allies of the United States and many "Islamic" states prohibit the very actions taken by the US against Muslims (even for just being Muslims)?

What would Mohammed do?

Would he be more as the "moderates" or more as the Islamic State; and once the fighting were to get started, what with the weapons of mass destruction today, how would Mohammed avoid taking even one innocent life while completely defeating the "afflicters"?

Christianity, as defined by Jesus Christ, runs into no such quandary. Christianity enters no peace treaties. Christianity is peaceful unilaterally always. It is for others to stop being violent against Christians, not the other way around. Christianity doesn't fight or kill those who persecute Christians. Christians die before taking lives, including their children (who were led to the slaughter by the Romans while those Christians did not fight back but rather sang praises to God, in whom they placed their full trust that those Christians would live in Heaven for not having resorted to vengeance or any other such thing). Christians cannot be held responsible in any sense for any "collateral" damage in any war.

Jesus Christ addressed this issue perfectly before Mohammed existed.

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:24-30 KJV)

The enemy is evil (Satanic). Tares are weeds, anti-Christs. The wheat constitutes the followers of Jesus, who believe in him as the son of God and who have been diligent. The reapers are those beings who can accomplish perfect sorting that humans (including every single Muslim, even Mohammed) could not and cannot.

Abu Amina Elias: Guys, I was reflecting on this amazing hadith today. All praise is due to Allah who blessed us with this merciful and peaceful religion of Islam:

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Worship the Most Merciful and spread peace.”

Source: Sunan Ibn Majah 3694

Tom Usher: Well, I posted my immediately previous post before seeing Ahmed's very ugly and false post about me. I am no troll.

I came here to discuss the image Ahmed posted and its implications that go way beyond Ahmed's shallow analysis, completely ignoring the Big Picture, the global picture, and, yes, whether Ahmed's position is in anyway responsible for IS by negligence concerning the spirit of the Qur'an and perhaps unintended consequences (I give him the benefit of the doubt on that).

Since he has taken his approach and since this is his post, I will take my leave and not grace you with my words from the Gospels any further.

Ahmed is ducking. He wants the question to remain within his framed definition that I believe I've shown quite clearly doesn't work and won't.

He has refused to address my wider canon and has become annoyed on account of others here having taken me as they ought to have: seriously.

It is Ahmed's attitude toward the Gospels that is part of the root of all evil. He doesn't want to hear it and doesn't want you to either because he knows that if the message is allowed in full and unfiltered, many Muslims will convert in the end.

I'm sorry for those of you who wanted to get at the root of the matter: resolution that works eternally.

Of course a Christian promotes Christianity. What else? That's evil in Ahmed's eyes. I take that as a badge of honor.

I leave without bitterness.

I feel sorry for you, Ahmed. You aren't a good leader.

Ahmed Rehab: Thanks for the exposé bro. I take it all back. Islamophobia doesn't exist and if it does, Islamophobia rocks praise the Lord, can I get an Amen?

Ahmed Rehab: Of course I am not a good leader, if I were, by golly, I would quit quibbling about Islamophobia and false generalizations and flock to Jesus dropping the violent Quran for the loving Bible wouldn't I? But alas I am not a good leader

Ahmed Rehab: You're not bitter at all. Nope.

Abu Amina Elias: I've also seen the light. Christians are never violent, never declare wars, and never misquote passages from the Bible to persecute others.

Ahmed Rehab: Of course Abu Amina, the Westboro Baptist Church and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), are fake Christians but the Muslim Extremists and terrorists are true Muslims while the rest of us are fake. Duh!

Abu Amina Elias: Sorry I can't help it. I know we shouldn't feed the troll, but how can I contain myself when I see simultaneous ad hominem, red herring, and no-true-Scotsman fallacies so ripe for the picking?

Ahmed Rehab: By sticking to the point and insisting on keeping it objectivr. Distractions are a dime a dozen. I don't mind overzealous Christians evangelizing to others, go for it, I just don't like it when it comes masked as pretending to seriously discuss Islamophobia, false generalizations, terrorism, etc. It's a bit obnoxious, expedient and wholly disingenuous.

Suzanne Graham: Thank you, Ali Abdul Hakim Ferraro. Fortunately, i dont feel compelled to provide a monologue in response. Just note: i currently live in a largely muslim country, but considering that many turks arent much religious, i have spent considerable amounts of time in the UAE and Azerbaijan - both almost exclusively muslim countries (not sure aboit the UAE figure but Azerbaijan is somewhere around 95% muslim). I am happy to report that I am not dead yet

There you have it. They went on to the end: mischaracterizing, ignoring the larger issue.

"Ahmed Rehab: Of course I am not a good leader, if I were, by golly, I would quit quibbling about Islamophobia and false generalizations and flock to Jesus dropping the violent Quran for the loving Bible wouldn't I? But alas I am not a good leader"

Well, "Islamophobia" means the irrational fear of Islam. You will clearly note that Ahmed completely ignored my having pointed to that the "West" has been doing exactly to the Muslims what caused Mohammed in Ahmed's book to fight them and to apply the "sword" verses I've quoted directly. As I said: ducking. IS is fighting against "Western Civilization" that has been attacking Islam, as I have said. They go beyond what Mohammed did when fighting was close quarters and not by bombs, but what would Mohammed do now, as I asked but was conveniently ignored concerning because Ahmed has his conveniently narrow notion of the topic of "Islamophobia."

I'm bitter because Ahmed says so. Well, I said I'm not, and I'm not. His training and upbringing make that incomprehensible to him.

"I don't mind overzealous Christians evangelizing to others, go for it, I just don't like it when it comes masked as pretending to seriously discuss Islamophobia, false generalizations, terrorism, etc. It's a bit obnoxious, expedient and wholly disingenuous." Such false witness. There was not one bit of not being serious in anything I said. I gave Ahmed the benefit of the doubt while he claims to know what is in my heart about the matter and that I didn't mean what I was putting forth to refute his position concerning the terrorists and the sword verses, in context.

Well, I meant it and stand by all of it before God. We shall see what God thinks about it in that day. Ahmed can go before God standing on what he wrote on the subject and about me, and I can go before God standing on what I wrote on the subject and about Ahmed.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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