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Top Five Misquotations Of The Quran

You have seen the memes, the misquotes on many anti Muslim blogs- here is a comprehensive researched answer.

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Religion has always been a convenient scapegoat for violence. Genocidal maniacs and extremists throughout history have frequently invoked religion to grant cosmic significance to their earthly conflicts. The political conflicts, brutal dictatorships, and warfare involving Muslim countries in recent decades have lead to the emergence of modern extremist groups attempting to justify violence in the name of Islam. Chaos, instability and prolonged warfare create a political vacuum where power-hungry groups vie for control. Such groups will raise whatever banner draws support for their cause, whether it be the banner of ethnic identity, cultural identity, nationalism, 0r a particular ideological or religious identity.

One should immediately be skeptical of the political instrumentalization of religion by such groups, and of the attempt to shift blame to a religion that has been around for 1400 years and is practiced by almost two billion adherents around the world. Nevertheless, certain verses of the Qur’an have been tossed around by radicals and by islamophobes alike, alleging that there is some Qur’anic support for violent activity. The slightest familiarity with the verses in question would demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is fairly easy to misquote a text. All one must do is cherry-pick partial sentences and delete the surrounding context. What makes the five most misquoted Quranic verses so interesting is that the supposed violent nature of such verses immediately dissolves with a quick glance at the textual and historical context. All one needs to do is simply complete the sentence, or read the preceding or following verse, and it becomes evident that the verse in no way preaches violence. In addition, this perspective is further substantiated when one looks at the other passages in the Qur’an and statements of the Prophet Muhammad, which are unequivocal in their condemnation of violence and affirmation of peace. Furthermore, 1400 years of scholarly analysis of the Quran dispels the misinterpretations of contemporary radicals and anti-Muslim bigots

Misquotation 1 – Verse 2:191

The phrase “kill them where you find them” is by far the most frequent phrase that is misquoted by ardent Islamophobes and radical extremists. But this battlefield exhortation comes right after the verse which states “fight against those who fight you” and it comes right before the part which states “but if they cease fighting, then let there be no hostility except against oppressors“!

What is the historical context of verses 2:190-3 and who does it refer to? Ibn Abbas, the famous companion of the Prophet and Qur’anic exegete, says that this passage was revealed in reference to the Quraysh [1]. The Quraysh had persecuted the Muslims and tortured them for thirteen years in Makkah. They had driven Muslims out of their homes, seized their properties and wealth, and fought battles against them after the Muslims sought refuge in Madinah. The Muslims were apprehensive about another attack occurring during their sacred pilgrimage when fighting was prohibited. This is why these verses were revealed to reassure them that they would be able to defend against a Qurayshi attack during pilgrimage. Such fighting never ended up occurring between them and Quraysh, for a peace agreement was upheld and the pilgrimage was permitted [2].

The phrase “do not commit aggression” was explained by Ibn Abbas to mean, “Do not attack women, children, elderly, or anyone who is not fighting against you“, and thus harming any non-combatants is deemed a transgression against God Almighty [3]. The erudite Qur’anic exegete Ibn Ashur (d.1393H) states, “If they desist from fighting you, then do not fight them for verily God is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful, and so it is only befitting that the believers show mercy” [4]. In this regard, this verse is very similar to 4:89 which prescribes fighting the enemy but is immediately followed by the statement in 4:89, “So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you but rather offer you peace, then God has made no way for you to fight them.

Returning to 2:190-3, the word fitnah in this passage means religious persecution (as used in 85:10) and punishing someone for their faith, and coercing them to disbelieve or commit idolatry. The great Qur’anic scholar Imam al-Kisaa’i (d.189) explains that fitnah here means “torture (‘adhaab) because the Quraysh used to torture those who accepted Islam” [5]. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) explains that the phrase “fitnah is worse than killing” means that “to persecute a believer for his faith until he recants it and becomes an idolater is worse and more painful to him than being slain while holding onto his faith” [6]

Therefore, the passage clearly prohibits fighting against those who are not fighting. The particular misquoted phrase describes fighting in defence against perpetrators of anti-religious persecution and torture.

Misquotation 2 – Verse 9:5

The next phrase that is frequently misquoted is quite similar – “slay those pagans wherever you find them”, but again the slightest familiarity with the historical and contextual context would immediately dispel this misquotation. The verse immediately before speaks of upholding peaceful agreements with those who are at peace and never supported enemy warriors against the Muslims – so who is verse 9:5 in reference to? Qur’anic exegetes al-Baydawi (d.685H) and al-Alusi (d.1270H) explain that it refers to those pagan arabs who violated their peace treaties by waging war against the Muslims (nakitheen) [7], and thus Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d.370H) notes that these verses are particular to the Arab polytheists and do not apply to anyone else [8]. These comments are substantiated by what the Qur’an itself says. Verse 13 of the same chapter states, “Will you not fight against those who violated their peace treaties, plotted the expulsion of the messenger, and initiated the fighting against you?” and verse 36 states, “and fight the pagans collectively who wage war against you collectively.” The textual context is abundantly clear that verse 9:5 is not a random instruction out of the blue but relates to the pagan tribes of Arabia, who were in a state of war with the Muslims [9]. Therefore, to interpret the passage in any other way is to contradict the very text of the Qur’an.

Moreover, what is fascinating is that the very next verse (9:6) states that if any enemy warrior suddenly demands protection, one is religiously obligated to provide that individual with protection, explain the message of Islam to him, and if he refuses to accept, escort him to a place of security. This instruction to protect and escort enemy combatants to a safe haven makes it blatantly obvious that this passage in no way, shape or form, can be construed as violent.

Misquotation 3 – Verse 8:60

Another favourite text to misquote is the passage that states, “Prepare against them all you can of power and steeds of war..” but again, the very next verse reads, “If they incline towards peace, then incline towards peace as well” – hardly a violent passage!

Moreover, one must again ask who is being referred to in this citation? The historical context clearly places these verses again in reference to the ongoing war between the Muslims and the enemy forces of the Quraysh of Makkah and their tribal allies [10]. This chapter was revealed in reference to the Battle of Badr which took place between the Muslims who sought refuge in Madinah and the Quraysh who had persecuted them and driven them out of their homes in Makkah. The same chapter describes the pervasive warfare in Arabia and lack of security suffered by the early oppressed Muslim community. “And remember when you were few and oppressed in the land, fearing that people might abduct you, but He sheltered you, supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things – that you might be grateful.” (8:26)

Note also that sometimes Islamophobic bigots cite verse 8:12 from this same chapter “strike above their necks”, somehow completely missing the fact that the verse describes what God said to the angels during the battle of Badr. The first half of the verse reads, “When your Lord inspired the angels, ‘Verily, I am with you, so strengthen the believers…’”. To take a description of God’s inspiration to angels during a historical battle against the Quraysh oppressors and somehow distort that into a generic command for Muslims to attack non-muslims is profoundly dishonest, to say the least.

Misquotation 4 – Verse 47:4

This is perhaps the most outrageous of all misquotations. A phrase in the middle of a passage about battle is ripped out of its context and presented ludicrously as, “When you meet disbelievers, smite their necks.” To even the most casual reader who bothers to glance at the passage, the verse is talking about a meeting in mutual battle between warriors (Ar. “fi’l-muharabah” as al-Baydawi explains [11]) that comes to an end “when the war lays down its burdens” as the verse itself states. This verse is specifically discussing mutual battle with those disbelievers engaged in warfare as noted by Ibn Jareer al-Tabari [12]. This is clear from the opening line of the chapter which states, “Those who disbelieve and prevent people from the path of God“, which as Ibn Abbas has stated, is in reference to the pagans of Quraysh [13], who oppressed the believers by denying them the freedom to practice their faith and then went to war with them to exterminate their community.

With respect to the phrase, “until the war lays down its burdens“, Imam Qatadah (d.117H) explained it saying, “until the enemy warriors lay down their burdens” – a phrase that was echoed by many scholars throughout history, including Ibn Qutaybah al-Daynuri (d.276H) [14]. Note also that this verse provides Muslims with only two options for prisoners of war – unconditional release, or acceptance of ransom. The verse mentions no other option, and indeed scholars have pointed out that this is the general rule, for the Prophet Muhammad only punished those war criminals guilty of treachery or gross violations, but otherwise he almost universally would pardon people even his most ardent opponents, as he did with the war chief Thumamah ibn Uthal, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Habbar ibn al-Aswad, Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Umayr ibn Wahb, Safwan ibn Umayyah, Suhayl ibn Aamir, and the list goes on.

Misquotation 5 – Verse 9:29

One of the most interesting citations is 9:29, along with the claim that it instructs Muslims to fight people of the Book “until they pay the jizya and feel subdued”. But this verse as well has a historical context that is neglected. The very early exegete, Mujahid ibn Jabr al-Makhzumi (d.104H) explained that this fighting was revealed in reference to the Prophet Muhammad’s campaign against the Byzantine empire [15]. The Prophet Muhammad sent al-Harith ibn Umayr al-Azdi as an emissary to the Byzantine vassal state of the Ghassanids, but the chieftain Shurahbeel committing the shocking crime of tying up the emissary, torturing him, and murdering him [16]. When an army was dispatched to confront the Ghassanids for their crime, the Vicarius Theodorus summoned a large force of Roman soldiers to engage in war against the Muslims in the Battle of Mu’tah.

Thus, this verse was revealed in regards to fighting within an existing war against an enemy political entity, namely the Byzantine empire, which lead to preparations for the expedition of Tabuk. The hostility of the group in question is mentioned in the this very Qur’anic passage itself, which goes on to state (9:32) that this instruction refers to those “who attempt to extinguish the light of Islam with their mouths“, which al-Dahhak (d.105H) stated meant “they wish to destroy Muhammad and his companions.” [17]

As history went on, imperial conflicts continued between the Byzantine empire and the subsequent Muslim empire of the Umayyads. Many writing within the historical setting of imperial conflict assumed that this verse characterized a generic state of perpetual warfare with opponent political entities. However, as noted in Tafsir al-Maraghi, all of the Qur’anic conditions of warfare mentioned earlier still apply to this verse. Thus, the verse means, “fight those mentioned when the conditions which necessitate fighting are present, namely, aggression against you or your country, oppression and persecution against you on account of your faith, or threatening your safety and security, as was committed against you by the Byzantines, which was what lead to Tabuk.” [18]

Quran-text-closeup

 

Conclusion

The Qur’an is a message to humanity that repeats 114 times, “In the Name of God the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.” The Qur’an instructs Muslims to show goodness to those who do evil (41:34), to speak words of peace to those who are hostile (25:63), to call to the way of God with wisdom and beautiful preaching (16:125), to treat peaceful non-muslims with the utmost kindness and justice (60:8), to be the best of people towards other people (3:110), and to respect freedom of religion (2:256, 10:99). There is simply no plausible way to understand the Qur’an in a manner bereft of mercy, compassion or peace. Any sincere and reasonable person looking at these passages must necessarily recognize that the Qur’an stands for mercy, not for destruction and violence.

Attempts to portray the Qur’anic text as preaching violence do not stand up to academic scrutiny, and in fact, can be dispelled by simply reading the entire sentence and the immediate context. Dishonesty abounds in the selective chopping of sentences by both Islamophobes and radicals alike. Knowledge of the historical context of these verses clearly demonstrates that all of these passages without exception relate to fighting against those engaged in warfare. A careful examination of the scholarly analysis of these passages provides abundant statements clarifying the meaning of these verses.

At this point, it should be obvious that one of the best ways to combat misuse of scripture is by propagating the voluminous evidences which necessitate an understanding of scripture that is peaceful, merciful, and tolerant, and empowering those who advance this understanding. To insist on characterizing the religion as inherently violent is to play right into the hands of extremists on both sides who wish to incite hatred and perpetuate war.


  1. See Asbab al-Nuzûl by Al-Wahidi (d.468H)  
  2. Ibn Abbas explains that when the Muslims went to Makkah in 6 AH intending to perform pilgrimage, they were prevented from doing so by the Quraysh and agreed to turn around and go home after a peace treaty was made permitting them to return the following year. However, they were apprehensive to return again, fearing that they would be slaughtered while in a state of pilgrimage as the Quraysh had plotted to attack them at that time. These verses were revealed to assure them they would be able to defend themselves from such an act of aggression in the sacred precincts of Makkah. In the end, no such fighting took place at all and the Muslims were able to perform their pilgrimage in peace (al-Wahidi, al-Samarqandi, al-Tabari). 
  3. See Tafsir of Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) and al-Tha’labi (d.427H). Also, the famous early Muslim scholars Abu’l-Aliyah, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, and Ibn Zayd all explained that aggression here means “fighting anyone who is not fighting you”. The famous Umayyad caliph and religious scholar Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz was asked about this verse and he stated that it prohibited any fighting against those not engaged in warfare. This has been taken as a legal maxim by Muslim scholars prohibiting harming any non-combatants. 
  4. Tahrir wal-Tanwir 2:192. Multiple early exegetical sources explain that the phrase “if they desist, then verily God is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” means if they cease fighting you and desist from their warfare against you, including Tafsir Muqatil b. Sulayman (d.150H), Tafsir al-Samarqandi (d.375H) and Tafsir al-Tha’labi (d.427H).  
  5. Reported by al-Tha’labi and al-Tabarani (d.360H). Some may wonder if scholars like Imam al-Kisaa’i were contradicted by the statement of some later Qur’anic commentators who said that fitnah means disbelief or idolatry. However, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (d.310H) and others demonstrate that there is no contradiction as “coercing Muslims to commit disbelief/idolatry” is also intended by the verse as a form of persecution of Muslims. As the eminent early Qur’anic scholar, Makki ibn Abi Talib (d.437H) notes, “Fitnah linguistically means a trial, so a trial that causes one to lose faith is worse than being slain.” Ibn Jareer al-Tabari states the same (see next footnote). Moreover, we have the irrefutable evidence of the companion Abdullah ibn Umar related in Sahih Bukhari. Ibn Umar was asked to justify his pacifism during the war in the time of Caliph Ali, especially when the Qur’an states “Fight them until there is no more fitnah.” Ibn Umar replied that when the persecution of Muslims for their faith has ceased and the tortures and killing had subsided, there was no longer any fitnah (وقاتلوهم حتى لا تكون فتنة قال ابن عمر قد فعلنا على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذ كان الإسلام قليلا فكان الرجل يفتن في دينه إما يقتلونه وإما يوثقونه حتى كثر الإسلام فلم تكن فتنة).  
  6. Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil ay al-Qur’an (2:190-193)ofImamal-Tabari states:

    وقد بـينت فـيـما مضى أن أصل الفتنة الابتلاء والاختبـار فتأويـل الكلام: وابتلاء الـمؤمن فـي دينه حتـى يرجع عنه فـيصير مشركا بـالله من بعد إسلامه أشدّ علـيه وأضرّ من أن يقتل مقـيـماً علـى دينه متـمسكاً علـيه مـحقّاً فـيه 

  7. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta’weel (9:5) of Imam al-Baydawi and Rooh al-Ma’ani (9:5) of Imam al-Alusi. Such statements by exegetes are given authority because the are in agreement with the text of the Qur’an itself. When reading the comments of various classical figures, it is important to note the historical context of their comments. Many exegetes lived in the era of rival empires vying for control against each other. Often, people in those times saw imperial conquest and political expansion as the only means of conveying the message of truth to other communities who lived under hostile political entities, and so some of them attempted to reinterpret such passages in order to permit a broader scope of application. However, such interpretations are refuted by the textual and historical context of the Qur’an. Moreover, those figures themselves stated that the ultimate goal was to establish the security of the Muslim lands (see Bidayatul-Mujtahid of Ibn Rushd) or communicate the message of the faith to other people, and thus by the principles of Islamic law political expansion as a means of propagation becomes irrelevant in the digital age of mass communication and globalization. 
  8. Abu Bakr al-Jassas states, “صار قوله تعالى: {فَاقْتُلُوا المُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ} خاصّاً في مشركي العرب دون غيرهم.” 
  9. Note also that verses 9:8 and 9:10 characterize the referents of these verses further by stating that those intended are the ones who “observe neither pact nor kinship in their dealings with believers”. The importance of understanding the general state of tribal Arabia cannot be understated. Today, a person can walk down the street fairly confident of not being mugged for their personal possessions, and can simply call the police should they feel their security threatened. But in seventh century Arabia, there was no police, no law, no order, only tribal protections. And these tribes were in a state of constant warfare with each other and would conduct perpetual raids. The Qur’an itself alludes to this environment, saying “Do they not then see that We have made Makkah a sanctuary secure, while men are being snatched away and ravaged from all around them?” (29:67). Wandering in the desert was a certain guarantee that one would be either killed and robbed, or worse – sold into slavery. In fact, that is precisely what happened to several of the individuals who became companions of the Prophet, including Suhaib al-Rumi, Salman al-Farisi and Zaid ibn Harithah. It is impossible to read chapter 9 without understanding this background context to appreciate the consolidation of order and rule of law that was being established in war-torn Arabia. 
  10. Zad al-Masir (8:60) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H) and Nadhm al-Durar (8:60) of al-Biqa’i (d.885H). 
  11. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta’weel (9:5) of Imam al-Baydawi (d.685H). 
  12. Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil ay al-Qur’an (47:4) of Imam al-Tabari (d.310H). 
  13. Ma’alim al-Tanzeel of Imam al-Baghawi (d.516H). Likewise, the same is stated by Ibn al-Jawzi:  ” وصَدُّوا } الناس عن الإِيمان به، وهم مشركو قريش” Zad al-Masir (47:4) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H). 
  14. ” حتى يضع أهل الحرب السلاح” as cited in Tafsir al-Samarqandi (47:4). 
  15. Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil ay al-Qur’an (9:29) of Imam al-Tabari, also al-Kashf wa’l-Bayan (9:29) of Imam al-Tha’labi. 
  16. Kitab al-Tarikh wa’l-Maghazi of Imam al-Waqidi (d.207H), p. 755. 
  17. Recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim (d.327H), as cited in Fath al-Qadeer (9:32) of Imam al-Shawkani (d.1250H). 
  18. Tafsir al-Maraghi vol. 10, p.95 of Sh. AhmadMustafaal-Maraghi:

     “أي قاتلوا من ذكروا حين وجود ما يقتضي القتال كالعتداء عليكم أو علي بلادكم أو اضطهادكم و فتنتكم عن دينكم أو تهديد أمنكم و سلامتكم كما فعل بك الروم و كان ذلك سببا لغزوة تبوك” 

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    November 13, 2014 at 2:36 AM

    Masha Allah, a very nice scholarly post indeed. Two thumbs up!.
    It was a good reading just as it was good watching the video “Taking Back Our Narrative“ by Amir Abdel Malik and Nouman Ali Khan.
    I like reading posts at Muslim Matters and look forward each day to finding good reading material.

  2. Avatar

    Tanveer Khan

    November 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Sorry, a relatively minor point, but isn’t it 113 not 114 Surahs that start with Bismillah? Isn’t Surah Tawbah the exception?

  3. Avatar

    Wubz

    November 13, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Tanveer,

    Pls check Surah Naml:30

    It contains the basmallah, so technically 114 is correct iA

    • Avatar

      Tanveer Khan

      November 13, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Makes sense now, thank you. :)

  4. Avatar

    Javed

    November 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    So taking women as sex-slaves after each war against the kuffar is NOT aggression against women? Got it! ;)

    FROM SAHIH BUKHARI – VOLUME 3, #432:
    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that while he was sitting with Allah’s messenger we said, “Oh Allah’s messenger, we got female captives as our booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?” The prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.”

    • Avatar

      Anti Misquotes

      August 5, 2016 at 9:38 PM

      damn! xD
      how did you jumped that its a sex-slaves!!!
      it said we got a woman in a WAR…. that! it must be last for years, agains an army, what a woman do in a war?
      4:24 And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

      mean that in that war and specificly in that war, islam allowed to temporaly marry a slave ( that it captivated in a “war”) with giving her the muhr
      ( mean the price for marriage just like the marriage in islam search “the condition of marriage in islam”)… its nikah mean sex after marriage…
      zina= the sex without marriage,from the biggest sin in islam that god abolish.
      nikah= sex after marriage and it allowed.
      _______
      before islam, it was slavery, they were killing girls in theire birth, torturing slaves… islam came as a mercy to people in (realism)… so it turned the slavery from a conditionality (people under control) , to a simple work ( doing home work) and the slave get paid for that, with giving them theire rights, abolished killing and gaved the rights for women.
      _______
      abolishing of zina didnt came at once, it passed by many steps, even in islam at it first spreading it was okay to have sex with a woman than marry her for example cause there was no context about it, so mens in war used to have slave womans for sex before islam cause wars takes at least 5 months ( there was a war last 40 years “al-bassos war between tha’alab and bakr tribes”) also wars was done out of cities mean that time in the middle of sahara, so in that war came that context 4:24 for mens in war to allow temporaly married the captives woman “from a war” giving them theire rights even if she already have a husband cause she s in a war, except the pregnant.
      directly after that islam abolished the temporaly marriage during to many contexts.
      https://islamqa.info/en/20738
      zawaj mut’ah= temporaly marriage.
      islam say everything is allowed except what god abolish :^)
      ______
      the final abolishing of zinah:
      17:32 [And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.]
      mean dont even get close from zina ( not just dont do it, dont even look at sexual part of woman or touch them for a malicious desire you idiots cause it gonna ruined your minds and it gonna be a disease, same for womens.

  5. Avatar

    Javed

    November 14, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    I only read the “Misinterpretation #1” before calling BS on this article… so the part of the verse that this article claims to have been omitted by people ““but if they cease fighting, then let there be no hostility except against oppressors“…
    Now Im confused… tell me if this applied to Bani Quraiza(? sp) when the Prophet attacked the two-timing jews and basically did what would be considered ethnic cleansing by KILLING ALL MEN and taking all women and children as sex-slaves, including even selling some women to buy more horses???
    Is that was the second part of the verse means when it says that “if they cease fighting”??? Because they were already banished to Khaybar and were not fighting the Muslims, even if we accept that Jews are backstabbing traitors who backstabbed Muslims in a previous battle? Does this mean that ALL of the tribe be destroyed and ethnically cleansed, or just the acutal perpatrators??? Collective punishment ok in Islam?

    • Avatar

      Opis

      November 14, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      Hi Javed – your comment is a great example of a logical fallacy. The article debunked the claim that the Quran preaches violence. Instead of dealing with what the article talks about, you are asking about Banu Qurayzah which is a totally separate question. Your statement “killing all men” is debunked in this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCgS5l4lv_4

      Sh. ATabek Shukrov Nasafi compiles all the historical data which demonstrates only the warriors were punished, and it was because they joined the Ahzab in the war against the Muslims in the Battle of the Trench. Now, you are free to believe your own account of history, but you must realize that regardless of what you believe, as long as the Quran doesn’t preach that you cannot call it violent. Cheerio.

      • Avatar

        Jeffrey Isbell

        November 14, 2014 at 7:35 PM

        Sorry, the problem is not misquotation, the problem is religious writings whose poetic style renders them vague enough to be misinterpreted. You may be right about “smiting on the neck” but a few of your fellows can show you some video of heads rolling on the ground to support my point. Don’t misunderstand me, I defend Muslims every day against irrational attacks. But let’s start with what’s true and go from there.

      • Avatar

        Javed

        November 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        Opis,

        And what do you have to say about the sex slaves made out of women and children?

        Now to your comment: I dont have time to listen to Borat sugarcoat genocide for 45 minutes, so why dont you just give us your sources? Because the most widely held and accepted belief by majority of the scholars and ulema is that ALL of the Banu Quraiza’s men above the age of “razor” aka puberty, were killed and women were taken as sex-slaves/concubines.

        My sources are from Sahih Bukhari and Muslim and the Seerah of the Prophet:

        Muslim:
        It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizi fought against the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) turned out all the Jews of Medlina. Banu Qainuqa’ (the tribe of ‘Abdullah b. Salim) and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina. (Book #019, Hadith #4364)

        Bukhari:
        Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The people of (Banu) Quraiza agreed to accept the verdict of Sad bin Mu’adh. So the Prophet sent for Sad, and the latter came (riding) a donkey and when he approached the Mosque, the Prophet said to the Ansar, “Get up for your chief or for the best among you.” Then the Prophet said (to Sad).” These (i.e. Banu Quraiza) have agreed to accept your verdict.” Sad said, “Kill their (men) warriors and take their offspring as captives, “On that the Prophet said, “You have judged according to Allah’s Judgment,” or said, “according to the King’s judgment.” (Book #59, Hadith #447)

        Ibn Ishaq’s Seerah of Prophet:
        Then they surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!’ This went on until the apostle made an end of them. Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the apostle he said, ‘By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.’ Then he went to the men and said, ‘God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.’ Then he sat down and his head was struck off

        I can go on and on… just like Borat in that video!

      • Avatar

        Zen Buddhism fan

        November 14, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        LOL who is this Javed dude? The guy doesn’t even notice that the Bukhari hadith he quoted says warriors and the translator put “men” in brackets hahaha, you cant be bothered to check the sources other people recommend and you cant be bothered to comprehend the sources you cite yourself. Keep watching Borat pal, it’s done a fine job of educating you.

      • Avatar

        Javed

        November 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        Zen Buddhist,
        Im not in the habit of changing ANYTHING from a Hadith. And as you might have guessed, I read over 40 different hadith on this matter and not a SINGLE one says what happened to any other men!!! SO ALL MEN WERE CONSIDERED TO BE WARRIORS!
        Now go away, laughing Budda…

        Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayza. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair.Sunan Abu Dawood, 38:4390

      • Avatar

        Zen Buddhism fan

        November 14, 2014 at 9:22 PM

        Never said you changed it Mr Potato head, I said the *translator* added that word. Gee-whiz. English isn’t your strong suit. LOL. And clearly arabic isn’t either or you could have gone to the arabic text of the Bukhari hadith and seen it says warriors. Do you concede that if the hadith says warriors and not men your entire objection collapses? If not, you’re just here to flame, you’re not interested in any facts that will challenge your point of view.

      • Avatar

        Opis

        November 14, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        Hi Javed – if you had listened to the video by Sh Atabek Shukrov Nasafi he cites historical data on what happened to other adult males as well such as the father of Muhammad b. Ka’b al-Qurazi. So I know you want to pick out english translations of hadith to try to make Islam look violent, but unfortunately for you, the historical data doesn’t support your claims and scholars have soundly refuted them. Each of those hadith have chains of narrators which have to be analyzed, alternative chains of transmission, linguistic analysis of terms, etc. etc. But if you’re not interested in learning what academic sources have to say, why waste everyone’s time here?

      • Avatar

        Sarah

        November 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        The Jews of Banu Qurayza picked Saad bin Muadh, a chief of one of the tribes in Madina (who had good relations with them) to be the judge after their treacherous actions in Battle of the Trench (where the jews helped the Meccans and other outsiders to attack the Muslims and their OWN city, thereby breaching the covenant of Madinah that they were a party to). They agreed to abide by whatever verdict Saad bin Muadh would hand out. Saad proceeded to refer to the jewish scriptures on the punishment of treachery and breaking a treaty and gave the verdict accordingly. . So the punishment that you deem as cruel was in fact based on the JEWS’ own scriptures. Before you start spewing hatred and create confusion, please look at the context in which the punishment of Banu Qurayza was carried out. It was done fairly and in accordance with their own laws and nobody else’s.

  6. Pingback: Ameen Ceremony & Importance of Learning Quran | Ayesha & Umair's Blog

  7. Avatar

    Discover The Truth

    November 14, 2014 at 3:26 PM

  8. Avatar

    miike

    November 15, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob has already prevailed…You have already lost allah. as the flight ends we are all grreeted bye the host that made our journey a little more comfortable. so as the host/flight attendant says as we un board our flight- “bye bye”, “bye bye”, bye…… may your flight be a scourching one . Ace ventura said it well when he looooooooooooooooserrrrrrrrr!

  9. Avatar

    derek lambada

    November 16, 2014 at 5:05 AM

    Overall an interesting piece. However…
    If many Muslims throughout history have found a different interpretation to you 1/ Can you really claim that your interpretation is ‘correct’? and 2/ Does it even matter? What Islam says is simply not as important as what Muslims do because of what they think it says.
    You talk a lot about historical context influencing the meaning, but doesn’t Islamic doctrine say that the Koran is the unchanging final word of Allah? It’s instructions are surely not limited by context according to this doctrine.
    You seem to ignore abrogation in this article. Many knowledgeable scholars throughout history would regard a number of the verses you quote as abrogated. As an example, of the 7 verses you cite in your conclusion, 6 can be regarded as abrogated (replaced/updated by later verses). The other one (3:110) doesn’t say what you say it says.

    [Muhsin Khan 3:110
    You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqun (disobedient to Allah – and rebellious against Allah’s Command).]

    I have checked other translations and none of them command Muslims to be good to other people. If anything this is one of the many verses that says Muslims are superior and other people are inferior, leading to intolerance.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like your contextual interpretation and I hope that it becomes accepted as what Islam stands for. The simple fact is that this is not, nor has it ever been, the case. Many respected scholars and Imans would disagree with your interpretation. The leader of IS has a phd in Islamic studies for crying out loud.
    If Islam so clearly calls for peace and tolerance, how did devout Muslims armies conquer most of the known world? Why is there so much persecution and intolerance of non-Muslims by Muslims?

    Overall I think the examples of Muhammad’s behaviour and interpretation of instructions that you have detailed here are very selective and misrepresent the overall message in the Koran and Hadith.

    • Avatar

      sperc

      November 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      Thanks for your question Derek. This is the natural question that many people ask when they are confronted with a presentation of the Islamic sources that conflicts with the popular image of Islam as inherently violent – which Islam is the real Islam and the ‘correct’ interpretation?

      Before answering this questions, allow me to address the factual issues you raised.

      – Verse 3:110 says “You are the best of people ever raised up for mankind…”. Numerous books of exegesis mention that this means “the best of people in conduct towards other people” ( يعني أنتم خير الناس للناس). This is precisely what the Prophet emphasized in numerous statements saying, “Show compassion to all those on earth, and the one who is above the heavens will bestow compassion upon you.”

      – Anyone who has studied Qur’anic sciences knows that the term “naskh” was used by later scholars to refer to abrogation, but was used by early scholars to include specification, clarification, particularization, etc, as specialists like Abu Ishaaq al-Shatibi (d.790H) and many others pointed out (Shatibi, Muwafaqat vol. 3, p.81). The problem is that nonmuslims and ignorant Muslims come along and see half the Quran labelled “mansookh” and think it means hundreds of verse go out the window. The most detailed analytical studies on the topic of abrogation include scholars like Ibn al-Jawzi, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Abdul-Azim al-Zarqani, Abdullah al-Shinqeeti, Shah Waliyullah al-Dihlawi, and Mustafa Zayd, all of whom rejected the wide-reaching declarations of abrogation, with Zayd and al-Dihlawi concluding that there are only 6 or 5 cases in the Quran, respectively. Incidentally, there is only one verse in the entire Quran that these specialists were all able to agree actually fit the definition of abrogation – do you know which one? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t any of the verses quoted in the article.

      – The historical context doesn’t mean the ruling of Islam is limited to history, it means it applies in any situation that has the same ratio legis (‘illah).

      Now coming to your question.

      Re: Correct Islam?
      Who speaks for Islam – scholars? rulers? empires? citizens? bigots? Check out this article:
      http://spiritualperception.org/portfolio/scholars-differences-of-opinion/

      If we agree that Islam is defined by what is revealed in the Qur’an, what was explained by the Prophet Muhammad, and we have fourteen hundred centuries of Muslim scholarship that explain that Islam entails being good to both Muslims and Non-Muslims, being kind/compassionate/just/merciful with everyone. How ignorant or malicious Muslims misinterpret and misquote Islam can easily be exposed with academic scholarship. So we should give credence to the understanding that is backed up by the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, who showed forgiveness to the people of Makkah who had formerly persecuted and tortured him and his followers. Islam is a faith which emphasizes the Divine attributes of Mercy and Compassion, and God wishes to see these attributes emulated in the behaviour of His servants. You said that you hoped this interpretation of Islam would become accepted – I don’t think you noticed the article footnotes are cites exegetical works over the past thousand years! This understanding already has been the dominant understanding by scholars of Islam for fourteen hundred years! The massive majority of Muslims today as well reject violent interpretations and espouse the exact same understanding in this article, even if they may not be able to articulate it in the same academic rigor.

      Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H) said, “Any ruling that replaces justice with injustice, mercy with cruelty, prosperity with corruption, or wisdom with nonsense can never be part of Islamic law even if it is claimed to be so according to some interpretations.” (I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, vol. 1, p. 333).

      For more academic perspectives visit:
      SpiritualPerception.org
      https://www.facebook.com/SpiritualPerception

      • Avatar

        derek lambada

        November 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Thankyou for the respectful way you have answered me. I am looking for answers rather than confrontation and I am grateful that you have answered in this spirit. It can’t be nice having someone query your faith and words and I ask your forgiveness for any offence I may cause. Thanks also for spending so much of your time providing me with such a comprehensive reply, it is no small thing.

        You certainly give me things to think about and I will look more closely at the sources you cite.

        As a non Muslim, what is (or should be) regarded as ‘correct’ Islam is less important for me than what Muslims actually do. It does not take many ignorant and malicious (or just misguided) Muslims to have a devastating impact on a society.

        Thanks for the direct answers to the factual points I raised. I take your point on 3:110 and it’s interpretation. I don’t think I was completely wrong in saying that the actual words don’t clearly say ‘be nice to people’ but more ‘you are a benefit to people’ but I bow to your interpretation.
        However, can you honestly say that Muhammad always acted with total compassion? I think there are examples where he did things (for whatever reason) that could lead me to justifiably question this.

        I also take your point on abrogation. I was trying to make the point that this doctrine just adds to the mixed messages that people can take. You cite eminent scholars but I am sure others could cite other scholars who agree with their view. It is difficult to find a conclusive right and wrong.

        This is really what led me on the path that resulted in me visiting this page. Muslims doing or saying things I felt were clearly wrong (evil even) and justifying them using Islamic teachings. I thought that if I read the Koran it would be obvious that they were wrong. It was not, and I found that deeply disturbing.
        You say that those that misquote can easily be exposed with academic scholarship. That is part of the problem I am having. People like IS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, repeatedly quote directly from Islamic sources to justify what they do. I am not seeing this being easily exposed as in error. When people try (which seems rare-many claim they are ‘unislamic’ but seem very vague as to why that is) it seems to go backwards and forwards with each side citing different things to counter their opponents last claim.

        I accept that the scholars you refer me to cover Islamic history but I’m sure there are other scholars who have conflicting views, and Islamic history is certainly not one long era of peace, harmony and goodwill to all men.
        I know bad things like slavery have happened in all parts of the world and on the watch of all religions. No other religion’s main prophet kept slaves, traded slaves, and oversaw the enslaving of people though as far as I’m aware. It also seems to have been too easy for Muslims to provide religious justification (or at least avoid religious condemnation) for massacre and genocide.
        Muhammad’s own companions embarked on a campaign of aggressive and violent expansion after his death. Presumably they knew him and his message best.

        These are some of the most extreme and troublesome examples of course. I really want to think that the more peaceful interpretation that you present is ‘correct’ and you make very strong points that it is. Further evidence is provided by the overwhelming majority of Muslims being peaceful, selfless people. Unfortunately it doesn’t take many to make these arguments effectively irrelevant, and Islam is currently saddled with too many of these people for comfort.

        It’s not just the violent minority that worry me. Surveys (and I accept they can never be completely reliable) show worrying levels of support for indefensible acts of intolerance and violence amongst the worldwide Muslim population.
        Leaving violence aside there is also wide support for other things I find ‘wrong’. Death for apostates, adulterers, and homosexuals. The call for sharia law to be implemented. Disadvantageous treatment of women. Suppression of free speech where perceived criticism of Islam is concerned. FGM. I’m sure you know where I am going and that you could add things to the list.
        I’m also certain that you could make a very good case that some or all of these things are unislamic and against Islamic teachings (or that I have misunderstood what they actually represent).
        What I would ask is that if enough Muslims believe that their faith justifies violence and intolerance (and opposes certain ‘modern Western values’), does it really matter whether they are correct or not?
        If Muslims still hold views about what Islam teaches that are in error in this day of the internet where nearly all information can be found instantly, what hope is there?

        Thanks again for the links and I will endeavor to keep my mind open.

    • Avatar

      sperc

      November 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Thank you Derek, I really wish we had more people like you – who ask serious questions but with an intent to learn not with an intent to denigrate or dehumanize. I am strongly optimistic that we can work together to counteract the narrative of hate and publicize the mainstream educated voices of tolerance on both sides.

      SpiritualPerception will have many more articles on these topics of confusion and many of the issues you raised are being addressed in articles currently under construction. In the meantime, I encourage you to read a broad range of authors who have written biographies of Prophet Muhammad – Karen Armstrong, Martin Lings, Adil Salahi, Jonathan Brown, Tariq Ramadan, etc. All of these authors have very different views and perspectives, which you will find helpful in developing a more informed outlook on the subject.

      The narrative of hatred being perpetuated on both sides has unfortunately lead to a rapid increase in both radicalism and islamophobia, and this means we all must work harder to deconstruct such fallacious narratives. I can appreciate that for an outsider or layman it might seem like both narratives have purchase in Islamic thought. But this is just like a non-expert being confronted with conflicting data and back-and-forth debates on the benefit of vaccination (which the medical community has consensus on) or the reality of climate change (which the scientific community has consensus on). Radicals misquoting religious scripture look blatantly as unscientific to academics familiar with Islamic scholarship, and this article provides a clear case study of that.

      Which leads to the more important question – what has lead to the emergence of these radical groups in recent times? What are the factors that lead to the weaponization of ideology, be it religious or otherwise? What is the significance of political instability, regional conflict, foreign invasion and occupation, economic sanctions, brutal secularist dictators, in bolstering the ranks of extremists? The author Pankaj Mishra astutely observes that ISIS has far more in common with the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot than anything in Islamic history, and the more factors you compare between the two the more you realize how accurate that is. This will also be discussed in far more detail in a forthcoming article.

      For more academic perspectives visit:
      SpiritualPerception.org
      https://www.facebook.com/SpiritualPerception

      • Avatar

        derek lambada

        November 22, 2014 at 5:52 AM

        Thankyou for your kind words.

        I’m glad you mentioned Tariq Ramadan, I already have his ‘footsteps of the Prophet’ on my kindle and am slowly working through it to give myself wider perspective.

        Pankaj Mishra may be onto something. I saw a quite amusing article recently about things IS make use of that are clearly from the ‘infidels’. Whilst it’s very probably correct to say there is nothing quite like it in Islamic history, there are various other things in Islamic history that I would have concerns about.

        All of the socio-economic things you mention have to be considered but so do the Islamic teachings. Hopefully the peaceful interpretations will become universally accepted as correct. Is there an argument that Islamic teaching is too easily misinterpreted? There are numerous voices calling for reform of Islam. Maybe clarification would be a better word? I live in hope anyway.

        As a Westerner I feel we get the blame for these things quite a bit, not always fairly. There have been brutal dictators certainly, the West helped get rid of some of them, but the situation (with regards radicalisation) seems to have got dramatically worse after that. Some radicals hate the West because we got involved in Iraq, but then others hate it because we didn’t get involved in Syria.
        The crusades (still) seem to be cited as evidence of the West’s aggression and hatred of Islam. They were a very limited attempt to reclaim a small part of the massive swathes of territory taken by Muslim aggression though (and in many ways were a direct copy of Islamic Jihad theories). It seems all too easy to criticize the perceived opponents whist ignoring the fact that it was only your own side doing the exact same things that led to their actions in the first place.
        I’m noticing I’m just as much in danger of getting caught up in history as some of these radicals! We have to avoid this don’t we? It’s how things stand now, and how we make things better from today’s situation that’s important.

        I guess the big question I have about the socio ecomonic argument is the evidence of the western extremists. They seem to largely be from the middle classes, clever and well educated. The main suspect for being Jihadi John is from an Egyptian family that was granted asylum in the UK. The West sheltered and supported his family, protecting his father from a death sentence in Egypt. I just can’t understand the mentality.

        Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to help me with these things. I shall read your forthcoming articles with interest and an open mind.
        Peace.

  10. Avatar

    nadia

    November 23, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    Derek lambda – I just want to ask, on the one hand you say you aren’t bothered so much on the “correct” interpretation of Islam as much as what Muslims do but on the other you are reading deeply into the subject of interpretation and opinion on Islam. It seems to me something deep down telling you you want to know if Islam is the truth and you would accept it if you find you agree with everything you currently object to. The thing is that once you realise Allah is the One Creator, who has sent Prophets and Messengers to every nation, and that now there are no more of those the only thing left is the Quran who no one has been able to match in its linguistic beauty, that this is the truth, and His wisdom is above any human ideas, once you believe that all the debates are cleared up in your mind. Islam is submission to His Will because you know that He knows better than us and wants what is best for us. So don’t die until you become Muslim, we just care for you :)

    ” There shall be no compulsion in the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”

    • Avatar

      derek lambada

      November 23, 2014 at 5:51 AM

      Hi Nadia,
      Firstly thanks for trying and caring.
      When I read the Koran I didn’t really find a truth I could recognise I’m afraid. I didn’t find linguistic beauty either, although of course I read a translation rather than the arabic so maybe that would have helped.
      I think the reason I am studying is to reassure myself that Islam can have a place in my society. There are so many things done in the name of Islam that seem to go against good things my society stands for, not just from the extremists either. Without getting caught up in scriptural arguments I’m thinking of free speech, equality (of sexes and peoples), freedom of personal choices etc.
      Of course it’s not all bad and on balance may well be of benefit overall but there is more than enough to greatly concern me.
      Some of these things I regard as basic humanity. If a God exists then he gave us this sense of humanity. I’m trying to make clear how Islamic teachings can completely fit in with this sense of humanity. This will obviously help reassure me but I think will also help others. Other non Muslims will be able to clearly see that Islam is not a threat to them and maybe some Muslims could avoid being guided to the wrong path. I suppose I would like to be able to show such people why they are wrong. This being of benefit to both me and them.
      Of course this is a bit selfish as this is MY personal view of humanity but I do think some of it is innate.
      Islam is submission to Allah as I understand it. I refuse to believe that a most gracious and merciful God wants people to do many of things done in the name of Islam. I think if people look within to what their own God-given conscience tells them then they will act differently. It seems to me that too many people are submitting to their own understanding of a book rather than submitting to God.

      • Avatar

        nadia

        November 23, 2014 at 7:36 AM

        You are right the linguistic beauty is seen in the original language. And I agree the things that go against God’s Merciful nature are absolutely against Islam because Islam is from God, it inherently “fits” into humanity because it is from the one who created it! And even if you don’t believe that you will find in your studies that Islam upholds the values you mentioned. Your society is not a standard to look up to, human values are subjective, true values are from Allah and they manifests through our submission to Him, some of which is innate, because God created that too. Wish you all the best, you are close to Islam.

    • Avatar

      Reed

      May 14, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      “the Quran who no one has been able to match in its linguistic beauty”

      Muslims like to repeat this again and again, but it’s an opinion without any evidence. After all, to prove it, you would need to have nativelike fluency in all the languages of the world and need to know all the literatures of the world (both present and past) to make a valid comparison.

  11. Avatar

    derek lambada

    November 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Hi again Nadia,
    I don’t think that my society is perfect by any means. But I do think that some of its ideals (which it doesn’t always live up to by the way) would be approved of by a gracious and merciful God more than some of the things practiced in some Islamic based communities.
    I hope you see what I mean (and can think of some examples), I’m certainly not trying to be offensive in any way.
    I wish you all the best too.

    • Avatar

      arijjj

      December 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Hi Derek,
      I know it’s been a while since the conversation ended, but I would just like to say a few things.

      You’re right, some of the ideals of the Western world and society are not just approved, but ordained by a Gracious and Merciful God, and those are prevalent in majority of the teachings of Islam (without going into exact references, Dr. Nazir above has done a good job of that :)). And some of the things practiced in Islamic countries and societies are quite opposite to what God has ordained, but instead are more ingrained and prevalent in the culture of the region/society/country.

      Just one example of this – in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive (a rule which is now undergoing some change I hear). No where in Islamic teachings or practices does it bar a woman from leading/taking a transport. That’s like saying women could not ride a camel/horse in the Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) time, which we know isn’t true because women did travel. I don’t exactly know what the historical background of why such a rule came into being, but it has nothing to do with Islam. Another example – Saudi Arabia is led by a monarchy and royal family. The “right to rule” by monarchy has actually no place in Islam – it is not how Muslim leaders are selected/elected as ordained by Islam. This is ironic, since this is the country that implements “Sharia law” (or so it seems) most strictly (not necessarily in the most just manner), yet does not follow how its leaders should be selected as per the religion suggests. :)

      The point I’m trying to make is, which is the unfortunate reality of today, is that most of the Muslim leaders (and hence societies) are quite far from the actual teachings and spirit of Islam and what God teaches us through the Quran and the Prophet’s way of life. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that actions are judged by their intentions (for more on this, you can read this article on MM: http://muslimmatters.org/2010/12/02/actions-judged-by-intentions/ ). If someone INTENDS to use the religion or religious text for their own deviated/perverted/sadistic political or personal agenda, they can find all sorts of phrases and verses to back up their claims and carry out their evil plans. (This goes for any text by the way, religious or secular, fiction or non-fiction). The same text can also be used to back up carrying out countless good deeds which are highly encouraged and praised and recompensed in goodness for by God.

      So what is the spirit of Islam then, you may ask? As Nadia pointed out, it is ultimately submission to the will of God. And why would God want you or I to do one thing or another as He suggests in all His Divine books (Old Testament, Gospel, Psalms of David, Quran), the finality of which is the Quran? The essence or spirit of it is that it is ultimately good for humanity. If we choose to follow, it is better for us; if not, there is no compulsion on us. That is our choice – the choice to do good or evil, to obey God or not to obey Him.

      Ultimately, we shall all be judged before Him. I sincerely wish you and all of us the best!

      • Avatar

        derek lambada

        December 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Thanks for your reply arijjj,

        I’m still working my way through this and thanks for the link, I shall look at that certainly.

        I have been reading a book by Tariq Ramadan and I like the peaceful, positive message he appears to take from the teachings and actions of Muhammad.
        The problem I have is that it he seems to be somewhat selective in the teachings and actions he chooses to represent as the ‘lessons’ of Islam. It’s a bit like how progressive parents treat their children- ‘praise the good, ignore the bad’. (Sorry everyone if this is going too far, I’m a bit clumsy with expressing myself here).
        Anyway, the overall result is that the Muhammad that Tariq describes is not really recognizable to me as the one in the Koran and other source material. (At least at the moment anyway).

        Now, I’m very much still learning, but if I see a completely different Muhammad, it’s not difficult to see how other Muslims see one completely different as well, both today and historically.

        There are examples of things that I think are fundamentally wrong, that Islam at least appears to endorse. I mentioned slavery in an earlier post. I have seen arguments that slavery is unislamic, but from my study so far I don’t find them convincing. I can certainly see why slavery was part of the Islamic world for most of its history (and maybe still would be without pressure from the West).

        I understand completely what you are saying about Saudi Arabia. What is that driving thing all about? I can’t see any justification at all for that. Maybe a problem of today is that Saudi is incredibly rich thanks to their oil. Their idea of Islam is extremely well funded and is widely advertised because of this.

        Anyway thanks again for your helpful post and your best wishes.
        My best wishes go to you and everyone else here.

  12. Avatar

    Mutai

    April 7, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    Hello, just stumbled upon this good discussion and I am grateful for the insights. Meanwhile, can someone teach me Shahid?
    These Al Shabaab are asking people to recite Shahid (hope thats the name) and if you do not they shoot or slit your throat.
    Thank You

    • Avatar

      John Bayley

      November 28, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Funny about that.

  13. Avatar

    John Bayley

    November 28, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    Why do you Muslims refer to scholars all the time. Most are not academic scholars at all and if you need one to understand the koran then its a shame. Indeed people do cherry pick and in the case of Quran 5:32 its the reverse. “…if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind…” – The Holy Quran (Chapter Five, Verse 32). But this is not what this verse says when you read all of it. In fact, it says almost the exact opposite when you read the whole thing. So what we have is a so called holy book which needs scholars to understand it and does not stand scrutiny. On the other hand Christianity teaches love so i would encourage all you Muslims to change your belief structure to a peaceful loving doctrine. There is a very good reason why wherever there is violence there are Muslims hand in glove.

  14. Avatar

    wisherOfpeace

    February 14, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Peace on All,

    Jayakallah for the article, The following link explains 8 more verses in detail. In fact it is so easy to explain and justify these verses. A simple read through of few verses before and after the quoted verses gives the context.

    https://solution-for-peace.com/category/misconceptions-of-islam/

    @john bayley – you can certainly read the Quran on your own and understand it. have you tried? Your statement appears to be a case of taking the word of public opinion as true as against one’s own better judgment. Read the Quran yourselves and decide if it is tough to understand or easy.

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What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

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The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. InshAllah, we’ll try our best to cover the meanings of verse 71-82. As we learned in the last session, this passage of the Surah deals with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). It’s the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. We reached the point in the story where Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finally finds Khidr and asks with the utmost humility and respect to allow him to be his student. This highlights Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) sincerity in seeking knowledge, his lack of pride and his willingness to humble himself in front of Khidr despite his own status as a Prophet.

But Khidr initially declined his request telling him, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?” Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was sent as a Prophet of Divine Law, while Khidr had been entrusted with some unique knowledge and actions that seemed to be contradictory to that law. So he explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. But Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was extremely eager to learn. He resolved to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ.

He tells Khidr, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” Khidr finally gave in and both of them set off on their way. This is where we’ll pick up the story again. Allah ﷻ says,

Verse 71: So they both went on till, when they had embarked upon a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.”

They set out walking together along the shore looking for a ship to ride. As they were walking a ship of sailors passed by them and Khidr asked for a ride. The sailors knew Khidr so they let both him and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) come on board without any charge. After traveling for a while Khidr got up and pulled out one of the planks from the bottom of the ship using an ax making a hole in it. This placed everyone on the ship in danger of drowning. Obviously, this seemingly absurd and cruel behavior surprised Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). He was literally in shock. He couldn’t understand why Khidr would do such a thing to someone who helped him out. This went against his moral compass of what’s right and wrong. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) forgot about the conditions of his teacher and objected. These people gave us a free ride and you’re pulling a plank to drown their ship. You’ve done something bad. “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.” Khidr then reminded him gently with patience.

Verse 72: He said, “Did I not say that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to be patient with me and my actions? The way he says this shows that he was willing to overlook and tolerate Musa’s (as) impatience. Musa (as) felt a sense of regret and apologized to Khidr telling him that he completely forgot about his deal.

Verse 73: He (Musa) said, “Do not hold me responsible for what I forgot, and do not make my course too difficult for me.”

Basically he apologized. He said please don’t hold me responsible for what I forgot and allow me to continue travelling in your company. While telling the story the Prophet ﷺ says, “the first (question) was out of forgetfulness. While this conversation was taking place a bird came and sat on the side of the boat and took a sip of water from the ocean. Khidr said to Musa, ‘my knowledge and yours combined in comparison to the knowledge of Allah is like the sip of water compared to the ocean.’” Khidr accepting his apology and they continued travelling on their way.

Verse 74: So, they moved ahead until when they met a boy, he killed him (the boy). He (Musa) said, “Did you kill an innocent soul while he did not kill anyone? You have committed a heinous act indeed.”

“So they continued…” They both got off the ship and started walking along the shore until they came across a young boy playing with his friends. Khidr went up to this young boy and killed him by either strangling him to death or striking him on his head. This was too much for Musa (as) to handle. He objected even more vehemently. How can he kill an innocent young boy for no reason whatsoever? To Musa (as) this seemed absolutely absurd, cruel and unjustified. It was too much for him to tolerate patiently despite his promise not to question anything that he saw. So he said, How can you kill a pure innocent child for no reason whatsoever? You have done something unjustified and have committed a heinous act. Once again Khidr reminds him of the condition that he made and the promise that Musa (as) had given.

Verse 75: He said, “Did I not tell you that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I warn you that you wouldn’t be able to handle what I would do? Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to remain silent when I do certain things? In this reminder, Khidr added the word “laka” to show that this time his reminder is more severe and clearer. The first time someone forgets and makes a mistake it’s overlooked. The second time it’s also overlooked but with a sense of hesitation. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) again feels a sense of regret for breaking his word and not sticking to the conditions of Khidr. He’s now done this twice so he apologizes by saying,

Verse 76: He said, “If I ask you about something after this, do not keep me in your company. You have had enough excuses from me.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)(as) again apologizes but this time gives himself one last chance. He said if he questions Khidr one more time then Khidr can choose to part ways with him. Once again Khidr accepts his apology and they set off on their way. After commenting on this part ibn Kathīr narrates a hadīth from the Prophet ﷺ. He writes, “Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:

  • «رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوْ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَأَبْصَرَ الْعَجَبَ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ:
  • ﴿إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَىْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلاَ تُصَاحِبْنِى قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذْراً﴾»

May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said, (`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’))” That brings us to the third and last adventure they had together.

Verse 77: Then, they moved on until they came to the people of a town and sought food from them. But they refused to show them any hospitality. Then, they found there a wall that was about to fall down. So he (Khidr) set it right. He (Musa) said, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khidr continued traveling until they came upon the people of a town that most commentators identify as the ancient city of Antioch. Being tired and hungry they asked them for some food but they refused to give them any or show them any hospitality whatsoever. As they were leaving the city they came across a wall that was about to fall down. Khidr stopped by it and repaired it. Now, this situation is also bizarre; Khidr is a complete stranger in a town that refused to give them food or host them yet he still stops and fixes their wall for nothing in return. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finds the situation full of irony. Why should a stranger exert so much effort in rebuilding a wall in a town where they were denied even a little food and all hospitality? He should have at least demanded some money for his labor and then they could have bought some food to eat.

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) couldn’t hold himself so he objected, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.” And that was the end of their relationship. Khidr responded,

Verse 78: He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I shall inform you of the meaning of that which you were unable to bear with patiently.”

Meaning, this is the end of our relationship and this is where we’ll part ways. But before we go our separate ways I’ll explain to you the wisdom and hidden meaning behind everything I did. Up till this point in the story, we’ve probably been just as impatient as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); we have no clue why Khidr did the things he did. But he then explains everything is detail; why he pulled a plank out of the bottom the ship, why he killed an innocent child and why he rebuilt the wall without taking anything in return.

Verse 79: As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who worked at sea. I wanted to damage it, for just beyond them was a king who was seizing every ship by force.

Khidr is explained that his act of damaging the ship was, in reality, a means of saving it. It comes in a narration that these poor people were ten brothers, 5 of them were handicapped while the other five worked. The ship was their only source of income. The king was a cruel, tyrannical oppressor who would take ships by force. The damage done to the ship made it undesirable for the king and ultimately saved it for its owners. Had it been seaworthy, it would certainly have been confiscated by the tyrannical king. Perpetrating some small damage to the boat saved it from the greater harm and ruinous injustice which was certain to take place without it. Hence, causing such damage was a good and kindly action. So damaging the ship actually turned out to be a good thing.

Verses 80-81: And as for the young boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would make them suffer much through rebellion and disbelief. So we desired that their Lord give them in exchange one who is better than him in purity, and nearer to mercy.

Although the young child seemed to be pure and innocent in reality the seeds of disbelief and wickedness were entrenched in his heart. If he had grown up he would have been a source of grief and sorrow for his parents who were believers. Their love for this child would have led them towards evil and wickedness as well. They would suffer because of the rebellion and disbelief. So Allah told Khidr to kill this boy to spare them that grief and to replace him with a child that would be better and more dutiful. Now obviously the parents weren’t aware of this at this time so to them this was a huge loss and tragedy. They weren’t aware of the future difficulties that they were saved from by his death.

Qatādah said, “His parents rejoiced when he was born and grieved for him when he was killed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been the cause of their doom. So let a man be content with the decree of Allah, for the decree of Allah for the believer, if he dislikes it, is better for him than if He were to decree something that he likes for him.” That’s why in connection to these verses ibn Kathīr رحمهم الله quotes the hadīth, “Allah does not decree anything for a believer, save that it is better for him.”

  • «لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ مِنْ قَضَاءٍ إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه»

It is mentioned in a narration that the parents were blessed with a pious daughter who gave birth to a Prophet. So the murder of this child actually turned out to be something good in the long run.

Verse 82: And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father was righteous, and your Lord desired that they should reach their maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I didn’t do this upon my own command. This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.

Khidr explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that the wall that was about to fall that he rebuilt was covering a treasure that belonged to two orphan boys. If the wall had fallen down the treasure would be exposed and the orphan children would’ve been deprived of their wealth. By rebuilding the wall Khidr made it possible for them to access their treasure when they grew up. This was done partially because their father was a righteous and pious man. Khidr then explains to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he didn’t do any of these things based on his own accord or understanding. Rather he did them according to the Divine command, decree, and will of Allah ﷻ. “And I didn’t do this upon my own command.” He concludes by saying, “This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.” Meaning, this is the explanation of my actions that you didn’t understand and weren’t able to be patient with.

Lessons:

1) One of the most powerful and profound lessons we learn from this entire episode is that oftentimes a tragedy is a blessing in disguise. Everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, happens according to the Divine will and decree of Allah ﷻ. There’s some deep divine wisdom behind every single thing that happens in this world. When something good happens we recognize it as a blessing. For example, if we get a good job, get a raise at work, purchase a new car or are blessed with the birth of a child. All of recognize this as something positive. On the other hand whenever we face setbacks, difficulties, hardships and tragedies we tend to lose patience.

This incident is teaching us that difficulties, tests, trials, and hardships are oftentimes blessing in disguise. The first thing to understand is that Allah isn’t sending these difficulties our way to break us or destroy us. Rather he’s sending them our way to test our patience and faith, as a source of mercy and a reminder. As a way of nurturing and training us. He’s reminding us to turn back to Him, to hold on to our faith, to be steadfast, patient, strong, and to persevere. When we’re struggling and going through difficult times we shouldn’t assume that somehow Allah is displeased with us. Similarly, when we’re comfortable and enjoying life we shouldn’t assume that Allah is pleased with us. The opposite can be true. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

  • « إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الْخَيْرَ عَجَّلَ لَهُالْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الشَّرَّأَمْسَكَ عَنْهُ بِذَنْبِهِ حَتَّى يُوَفَّى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

“If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Everything we face in this world is actually a source of blessing for us. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

  • «مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّىالشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»

“No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that the main tool, the key to deal with the world and all the problems it contains is through patience and turning towards Him. When we’re dealing with our problems we should turn to Allah. We should make dhikr, read Quran, spend time in prayer and reflection and try to be around good company. We should try to focus our attention, our spiritual and emotional energy on our relationship with Allah instead of our problem. By doing so we’ll find peace and comfort. True contentment. Part of patience is recognizing that whatever we’re going through is something that we can handle. Whatever we’re going through will not last forever. That’s why throughout the Quran whenever Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consoles and comforts the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) He reminds him to be patient and to turn to him. “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord.” (20:130) “So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (30:60) “So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (50:39)

2) Being content with the Divine decree of Allah ﷻ.

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Heart Soothers: Salim Bahanan

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