Posted by: mystic444 | April 25, 2012

War Over Usury?

(2:278) You who believe, beware of God: give up any outstanding dues from usury, if you are true believers. (279) If you do not, then be warned of war from God and His Messenger. You shall have your capital if you repent, and without suffering loss or causing others to suffer loss. (Taken from the Abdel Haleem English version of the Qur’an).

It is really quite interesting to see the desperation some people have to prove that the Qur’an itself approves aggressive fighting by Muslim believers. Over and over in the Qur’an, believers are told to fight only defensively; to fight only those who have initiated oppression and warfare against them or against other people unable to defend themselves. Let me just quote some of these many passages.

The very first time the believers were given permission to fight was either shortly before, or shortly after, Muhammad (peace be with him and his family) left Mecca for Medina: (22:39, 40) Those who have been attacked are permitted to take up arms because they have been wronged – God has the power to help them – (40) those who have been driven unjustly from their homes only for saying, ‘Our Lord is God.’ If God did not repel some people by means of others, many monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, where God’s name is much invoked, would have been destroyed…

(42:41) There is no cause to act against anyone who defends himself after being wronged, (42) but there is cause to act against those who oppress people and transgress in the land against all justice – they will have an agonizing torment – (43) though if a person is patient and forgives, this is one of the greatest things.

(2:190) Fight in God’s cause against those who fight you, but do not overstep the limits: God does not love those who overstep the limits. (191) … Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight, kill them – this is what such disbelievers deserve – (192) but if they stop, then God is most forgiving and merciful. (193) Fight them until there is no more persecution, and worship is devoted to God. If they cease hostilities, there can be no [further] hostility, except toward aggressors. (194) … So if anyone commits aggression against you, attack him as he attacked you, but be mindful of God, and know that He is mindful of those who are mindful of Him.

(4:75) Why should you not fight in God’s cause and for those oppressed men, women, and children who cry out ‘Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! By your grace, give us a protector and give us a helper!’?

(4:89) They would dearly like you to reject faith, as they themselves have done, to be like them. So do not take them as allies until they migrate [to Medina] for God’s cause. If they turn [on you], then seize and kill them wherever you encounter them. Take none of them as an ally or supporter. (90) But as for those who reach people with whom you have a treaty, or who come over to you because their hearts shrink from fighting against you or against their own people, God could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they withdraw and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way against them. (91) You will find others who wish to be safe from you, and from their own people, but whenever they are back in a situation where they are tempted [to fight you], they succumb to it. So if they neither withdraw, nor offer you peace, nor restrain themselves from fighting you, seize and kill them wherever you encounter them: We give you clear authority against such people.

These verses do not exhaust the clear teaching of the Qur’an that fighting is to be defensive, and whenever the opposition ceases fighting and seeks peace, the Muslim must also cease fighting and establish peace. Even in Sura 9, from which the mockers of Islam – and perhaps some ‘extremists’ among professing Muslims (who are themselves making a mockery of Islam, though) – like to take a couple of verses to try to establish the opposite, this same teaching is clearly presented. But my last three articles have been about that Sura and its meaning; so I won’t go into that one further here.

But the ridiculers and haters of Islam are so desperate to prove that the Qur’an contradicts itself and actually supports aggression and terrorism in some cases, that they will come up with objections like: “what about Sura 2:278 and 279?” (quoted at the beginning of this article). “See! God and His Messenger aggressively go to war against usurers, even though they’re believers!”

This is really laughable for one who reads even just the immediate context, and uses his reason. 🙂 First of all, the way I understand the phrase then be warned of war from God and His Messenger is that it is the warning of war which comes from God and His Messenger. God is issuing, by means of His Messenger, a warning about ‘war’. This is perfectly consistent with the role of Muhammad as Messenger of God: he delivers God’s message. Over and over the Qur’an emphasizes that the role of Muhammad is simply to deliver God’s message, whether that be a message of warning or a message of good news (“Gospel”).

The “war” itself is between the usurer and God. This is clear from the context: (276) … Whoever, on receiving God’s warning, stops taking usury may keep his past gains – God will be his judge – but whoever goes back to usury will be an inhabitant of the Fire, there to remain. God blights usury, but blesses charity with multiple increase: He does not love the ungrateful sinner. (277) Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve… (281) Beware of a Day when you will be returned to God: every soul will be paid in full for what it has earned, and no one will be wronged.

The meaning then is that those who refuse to obey God’s prohibition of usury should take warning from God and His Messenger that God is against them. The “war” is metaphorical, not a literal call to arms and physical fighting against those who practice usury. It’s like when we speak of a ‘war against drunk drivers’ or a ‘war against speeders’. We mean that law enforcement is going to ‘crack down’ on them, and be strict in enforcement of the law.

Even if one believes that the meaning is that God and His Messenger will wage war against the usurer, the warfare is still metaphorical. It is the kind of ‘fighting’ spoken of in 25:52 – so [Muhammad] do not give in to the disbelievers: strive hard against them with this Qur’an. “Strive” is the word “jihad”, which actually occurs twice in the literal rendering: “strive [jahid]… with striving [jihadan]”.

This, of course, is an exact parallel with what the Christian apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:10-18, when he spoke of the believers’ struggle [jihad?] against spiritual powers and rulers. One piece of the “armor of God” which they were told to take was the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (verse 17).

I might add, also, that even this ‘war’ against usurers is a ‘defensive war’: it is a defense of the poor against the greedy rich who seek to profit by their poverty. From the point of view of God, as given in the Qur’an, this seeking to make a profit from the little wealth the poor have is oppression. God warns that He (or He and His Messenger) will certainly come to the defense of such poor people – even if it’s “only” through punishment at the Day of Judgment, and blessing on that Day for those who were oppressed. Those who give simply in charity, though, not seeking to earn a profit from such charity, are promised God’s blessing.

God’s Book gives clear light to guide believers; but those who are determined to attempt to make God’s way crooked may well be left by God to stray in their blindness, deafness, and hardness of heart. For those who are left to stray, there is no one who can guide them.

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Responses

  1. MUHAMMAD’S ASSASSINS
    What is authentic Islam? This is a question that Muslims may disagree about too, but it certainly is valid to consider the life of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. In fact, any definition of Islam that excludes Muhammad is false. The earliest biography (sirat) of Muhammad’s life is the work of Ibn Ishaq (85-151 A.H.) who was born in Medina. In this we learn how Muhammad dealt with those who opposed him…

    Reply from ‘mystic444/Stephen Parker – I have deleted most of your comment mainly because I don’t wish to transmit spurious and scurrilous tales about God’s prophets on my blog – even in the comments section.

    I say those stories are spurious and scurrilous because that’s precisely what they are. I was immediately alerted to the unreliability of these stories by the fact that the source to which you referred for the first couple of examples was Ibn Ishaq. His reliability as a historian is ‘questionable’ to put it mildly. In an article examining a similar story about the prophet taken from Ibn Ishaq’s ‘history’, (entitled NEW LIGHT ON THE STORY OF BANU QURAYZA AND THE JEWS OF MEDINA By W. N. ARAFAT ) the author had this to say:

    “The earliest work that we have, with the widest range of details, is Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, his biography of the Prophet. It is also the longest and the most widely quoted. Later historians draw, and in most cases depend on him.8 But Ibn Ishaq died in 151 A.H., i.e. 145 years after the event in question. Later historians simply take his version of the story, omitting more or less of the detail, and overlooking his uncertain list of authorities. They generally abbreviate the story, which appears just as one more event to report. In most cases their interest seems to end there. Some of them indicate that they are not really convinced, but they are not prepared to take further trouble. One authority, Ibn Hajar, however, denounces this story and the other related ones as “odd tales”.9 A contemporary of Ibn Ishaq, Malik,10 the jurist, denounces Ibn Ishaq outright as “a liar”11 and “an impostor”12 just for transmitting such stories.

    “It must be remembered that historians and authors of the Prophet’s biography did not apply the strict rules of the “traditionists”. They did not always provide a chain of authorities, each of whom had to be verified as trustworthy and as certain or likely to have transmitted his report directly from his informant, and so on. The attitude towards biographical details and towards the early events of Islam was far less meticulous than their attitude to the Prophet’s traditions, or indeed to any material relevant to jurisprudence. Indeed Ibn Ishaq’s account of the siege of Medina and the fall of the Banu Qurayza is pieced together by him from information given by a variety of persons he names, including Muslim descendants of the Jews of Qurayza.”

    So Ibn Ishaq used stories related by the Jewish enemies of Muhammad (transmitted by their descendents) as the basis for some parts of his ‘history’ of the prophet. I no more believe the Jewish tales about Muhammad than I believe Jewish tales about Jesus Christ and his mother Mary (as given in the Talmud, for instance). I agree with the admonition of the Christian apostle Paul to Titus:

    “Tit 1:13 … Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, Tit 1:14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”

    Frankly, I consider it shameful that any Muslim would be willing to listen to and transmit such “Jewish myths” slandering the prophet whom God chose to transmit His message. Such Muslims do the same thing that the apostle Paul (in the letter to the Romans) accused some of the Jews of his time of doing: they cause the name of God (and His messengers) to be blasphemed among the Gentiles.

    The only authority I recognize for determining what is ‘authentic Islam’ is the Qur’an itself. While I do not totally reject all ‘hadith’ and traditions, I insist that in order for them to be given any credence they must not be in conflict with the Qur’an. Those sayings of the prophet, and stories about his actions and practices, which run counter to the God’s guidance in the Qur’an, I reject out-of-hand. I do not for a minute believe that Muhammad was a hypocrite who said one thing in the Qur’an and then did the opposite.

    My belief concerning ‘hadith’ and traditions is that of the Qur’an itself:

    “[6:112] AND THUS it is that against every prophet We have set up as enemies the evil forces from among humans as well as from among invisible beings that whisper unto one another glittering half-truths meant to delude the mind. But they could not do this unless thy Sustainer had so willed: stand, therefore, aloof from them and from all their false imagery! {SGP – Note that the admonition is NOT to kill them!} [6:113] Yet, to the end that the hearts of those who do not believe in the life to come might incline towards Him, and that in Him they might find contentment, and that they might earn whatever they can earn [of merit] – [6:114] [say thou:] “Am I, then, to look unto anyone but God for judgment [as to what is right and wrong], when it is He who has bestowed upon you from on high this divine writ, clearly spelling out the truth?” And those unto whom We have vouchsafed revelation aforetime know that this one, too, has been bestowed from on high, step by step, by thy Sustainer, setting forth the truth. Be not, then, among the doubters – [6:115] for, truly and justly has thy Sustainer’s promise been fulfilled. There is no power that could alter [the fulfilment of] His promises: and He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing. [6:116] Now if thou pay heed unto the majority of those [who live] on earth, they will but lead thee astray from the path of God: they follow but [other people’s] conjectures, and they themselves do nothing but guess. [6:117] Verily, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided.” ”

    That quotation is from the English version of Muhammad Asad. The following verses are from the English version of Rashad Khalifa, because in order to show what the Qur’an has to say about ‘hadith’ (God’s ‘hadith’ versus the ‘hadith’ of men), he left the word ‘hadith’ untranslated.

    “[Quran 31:6] Among the people, there are those who uphold baseless Hadith, and thus divert others from the path of God without knowledge, and take it in vain. These have incurred a shameful retribution.

    [Quran 39:23] God has revealed herein the best Hadith; a book that is consistent and points out both ways (to heaven and hell). The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe therefrom, then their skins and their hearts soften up for God’s message. Such is God’s guidance; he bestows it upon whomever He wills. As for those sent astray by God, nothing can guide them.

    [Quran 45:6] These are God’s revelations that we recite to you truthfully. In which hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?

    Therefore I reject as slanderous lies the other ‘traditions’ you have quoted from the ‘hadith’. It doesn’t matter which ‘collection’ of ‘hadith’ they come from, whether Tabiri or anyone else; they’re “baseless hadith” slandering God’s prophet, and it is shameful (in my estimation) for any Muslim to give credence to them. It’s a well known fact that the collections of ‘hadith’ are filled with contradictory statements, as well as such scurrilous nonsense. I seek to be like a “wise money-changer”, and try to distinguish the true coins from counterfeit ones.

    As to the rest of your comment: since I reject as lies and slanders such stories as you have referenced about the prophet Muhammad, I do not consider him to be a “false prophet”. I do not consider that it is necessary to make a choice between Jesus Christ and Muhammad. I agree with the Qur’an that Jesus Christ has been highly exalted by God, and he is among the greatest “in God’s presence”. I believe the same concerning Muhammad.

    In fact, I am so far from believing that Muhammad was a ‘false prophet’ that I believe he was the “comforter” or “counselor” whom Jesus said he would ask the Father to send. If you wish to see my reasons for this understanding of these statements of Jesus recorded in John 14 and 16, you may read my articles entitled Did Jesus Say Another Prophet Would Follow Him? and Part 2 of “Did Jesus Say Another Prophet Would Follow Him?”

    I agree with the Qur’an when it says:

    “(2:285) The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in God, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: “We make no distinction among any of His messengers.” They say, “We hear, and we obey.* Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny.” ”

    ” (4:150) Those who disbelieve in God and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among God and His messengers, and say, “We believe in some and reject some,” and wish to follow a path in between; (4:151) these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.”

    I also reject out-of-hand the stories in the Bible and Talmud which attribute lying, adultery/fornication and murder/genocide to God’s former prophets. I reject the New Testament story of Jesus ‘cursing’ a fig tree because when he was hungry he couldn’t find any fruit on it (because it wasn’t even the right season for fruit to appear). I will not attribute such a childish temper tantrum to God’s messenger, and I do not believe such a story ‘glorifies’ his power. These are among the ‘falsehoods of the Scriptures’ so far as I am concerned.

  2. “So you quote a passage saying allah will punish and reward believers for their actions and take this to mean that “war” declared against usurers in another passage by allah and his prophet could not possibly be read literally. That ignores passages in the Koran that speak of chastisement in this world and the hereafter and yet others that say believers will wage on allah’s behalf.”

    man, u ppl love to swallow ignorance.

  3. if you look @ the arabic it would be helpful . the qur’aan says that God will INFORM about A war and “a war” ISN’T EVEN a VERB it is a noun. so it is a TYPE of a war which THEY are being INFORMED about. many times the problems would be solved if one consulted the arabic. LOOK at the arabic VERB forms and they are very helpful in helping reader about USUAGE of the verb in a particular ayah. For example look at the verb yuhaaaribu. This word ” yuhaaaribu” is a VERB and is from the FORM 3 active MUDAARI3/imperfect. . it implication is that BOTH parties ARE AGREED to war because of REASON X. SO the people in 5:33 WANT to WAGE war and want to MAKE themselves go out AND DO WAR and God in reply says “if that is the case , then on mutual grounds you will also GET WAR FROM ME” but this language is not found in the usuary ayah.

    • @ Wharfe Dale – Peace be with you; and thanks for your comments.

      Unfortunately, I don’t read Arabic and I don’t know or understand its various grammatical constructions. With the aid of my Muhammad Asad English version of the Qur’an – which contains a transliteration of the Arabic into English letters as well as the English ‘translation’ (or ‘interpretation’) – I can usually find the Arabic word which corresponds with the English ‘interpretation’; and I can fairly easily discern the consonantal root of the word.

      For instance, I can easily discern that “salaam”, “Islam”, “Muslim”, and “aslama” share a common root and have related meanings; but I have to depend on the English ‘interpreters’ to be able to tell what the various shades of meaning are. I have no knowledge of what any possible verbal forms of the basic root “SLM” might be or what their meanings would be.

      I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying in your comment, but I’ll keep contemplating it and perhaps it will come clear. I can see that the word in 2:279 “biharbim” is related by root (HRB) with “yuhaaribun” in 5:33; but my knowledge does not extend to being able to discern which is a noun and which is a verb, or what the significance of the various forms is. In fact, my knowledge is insufficient to know whether the “bi” in “biharbim” is actually simply a part of that word, or is in fact a separate word which is joined in writing with the “HRB” root. I note that in Muhammad Asad’s transliteration, separate words are frequently joined in writing. The word “alhamdulillah” is a case in point. To my English way of thinking, there are 4 different words there, which in my ignorance of Arabic I would probably write in this way: “al hamdu li allah” (“the praise to God”). [I can also tell that “hamdu” is related to the names of the Prophet: Muhammad and Ahmad.]

      Muhammad Asad’s transliteration also hyphenates words in ways that don’t make sense to my English mind. In 2:279 he has this phrase: “biharbim-minal-lahi”. I know that “min” is a separate word meaning “from”, and “al” is a separate word meaning “the” (although they are written together in the transliteration); but “al” (“the”) in this construction would – I would think – be joined with “lahi” rather than “min”. That would form the name “Allahi” (“God”, or perhaps more literally “the God”). (And I don’t know what the “i” on the end of the name signifies).

      So my ignorance of Arabic and its constructions is immense. Any help I can get, therefore, is much appreciated.

  4. ISLAM
    Another prophet great, Mohammed known in Muslim lands,
    Decreed that it was sinful if one interest demands.
    In the Koran in Chapter two, at verse two seven five,
    We find inspired advice from God from which we may derive:
    “Those who devour usury won’t stand up inasmuch,
    As stands those whom the Evil One has maddened by his touch.
    That is to say that “Trade is similar to usury,
    But God permitted trade but not the usurious fee.
    Those who accept their Lord’s command, desisting with no grudge,
    Shall be forgiven for it’s up to God their case to judge.
    But those who do repeat offence, the consequences dire,
    Abiding in forever as Companions of the Fire.
    God will deprive the usury of all blessing perceived,
    But will give increase for the charity to those in need.
    For not He loveth creatures wicked and ungrateful so,
    Give up demand for usury, as true believers go.
    But if ye do it not you should take notice of a war
    From God and his Apostle is the thing you have in store.
    But if ye turn back ye shall have your sums of capital,
    Deal not unjustly. Ye’ll not be unjustly made to fall.
    So if your debtor has some difficulty to repay,
    Grant him some time until when he is capable the day.
    But if you should remit it by an act of charity,
    That is the best for you if only ye knew verily.
    And fear the day when ye’ll be brought to face His Godly poll,
    Then shall be paid that what was earned by each and every soul.
    In Chapter three: 130, “Not devour usury,
    Doubled, multiplied, it’s not way to prosperity.
    In Chapter 30:39, “That which ye lend for more,
    Through property of others will not count as Godly score.
    But that which ye lay out for charity when needy cry,
    Will show God’s increase as the recompenses multiply.
    From: http://johnturmel.com/allpoems.txt

    • @ Johnturmel – Thank you for that very interesting rhyming version. 😀 And may God’s peace abide with you always.

  5. *say believers will wage war on allah’s behalf.

    *read V2:279 metaphorically.

  6. So you quote a passage saying allah will punish and reward believers for their actions and take this to mean that “war” declared against usurers in another passage by allah and his prophet could not possibly be read literally. That ignores passages in the Koran that speak of chastisement in this world and the hereafter and yet others that say believers will wage on allah’s behalf.

    The “war” itself is between the usurer and God. This is clear from the context: (276) … Whoever, on receiving God’s warning, stops taking usury may keep his past gains – God will be his judge – but whoever goes back to usury will be an inhabitant of the Fire, there to remain. God blights usury, but blesses charity with multiple increase: He does not love the ungrateful sinner. (277) Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve… (281) Beware of a Day when you will be returned to God: every soul will be paid in full for what it has earned, and no one will be wronged.

    The meaning then is that those who refuse to obey God’s prohibition of usury should take warning from God and His Messenger that God is against them. The “war” is metaphorical, not a literal call to arms and physical fighting against those who practice usury.

    Sorry, but what is clear of allah warning of punishment against usurers in the hereafter means that in another passage mentioning war against usurers who do not mend their ways is metaphorical?

    The highlighted verses you’re quoting simply say that usurers who do not repent and change will be destined for hell. Your interpretation of this verse is far too convoluted. I’m curious, and not that this would prove one right or wrong, but which Muslim commentators (I’m supposing besides Muhammad Asad) read V2:279. I’m not asking because by quoting one scholar will prove you wrong, but to put it into perspective that the way you read verses of the Koran is off the mark in regards to how many others would simply read these verses.

    • InPeace – You speak as if I had taken verses from ‘another passage’ totally unrelated to the passage in which verses 278 and 279 are found. 🙂 The verses I quoted formed the immediate context, and for the honest interpreter will determine how the ambiguous word ‘war’ is interpreted. I say that ‘war’ is ambiguous because it is well known that the term is used in ordinary speech to describe ‘spiritual’ warfare, ‘economic’ warfare, ‘cultural’ warfare, etc., as well as ‘military’ warfare. When one encounters it in Scripture, therefore, one should ask himself what kind of ‘war’ is being discussed.

      Although God and His Prophet issue a warning about ‘war’ (or a warning is issued that war will come from God and His Prophet), there is no call issued for the Muslim believers that “wherever you encounter the [usurers], kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post.” 🙂 I’m fairly certain you could not produce an instance in the life of the Prophet Muhammad when he organized an army to find and kill all usurers. You probably can’t find such an instance in all Islamic history. But supposing some ‘extremist’ did do such a thing, I would readily denounce him and say that he had no justification for it in this passage (or any other passage of the Qur’an).

      In the immediate context (not some other unrelated ‘passage’) it is said that “God will be his judge”; “God blights usury” (or as Yusuf Ali renders it, “God will deprive usury of all blessing”); “but [God] blesses charity with multiple increase”; “Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord“; and of course verse 281 says that God will pay in full each person for what he has done. This is the context which determines what the ‘war’ which is spoken of means.

      Muhammad Asad (whom you apparently meant to disparage) renders verse 279: “for if you do it not, then know that you are at war with God and His Apostle”. He apparently did not follow my view that “from God and His Messenger” referred to the warning of war rather than the war itself. However, his rendering makes it to be the usurers who are fighting with God and His Messenger, not God and His Messenger who will instigate war against the usurers – and obviously this was a figurative warfare in his estimation. He felt that the meaning was so innocuous that he made no comment on that phrase. If he had thought there was any possibility that this verse could be seen to be in conflict with other verses which speak of fighting and killing people in defense only, he would no doubt have made a comment – as he did on 9:29.

      If this ‘warfare’ of God and His Messenger refers in any way to earthly punishment on the part of the Messenger (and by extension, those having legitimate authority following his death), it would of necessity have the figurative meaning I mentioned by referring to ‘war against drunk drivers’ and ‘war against speeders’: it would refer to strict enforcement of laws and regulations against such things. It does not refer to finding and killing people who have committed nonviolent crimes. Violent crimes are perhaps met with lethal violence; punishment for nonviolent crimes – while it might appear ‘harsh’ – is not lethal. And it is judicial punishment, not military warfare.

      There is an important passage in Sura 3 which refers to interpretation of the Qur’an: (verse 7) “it is He who has sent this Scripture down to you [Prophet]. Some of its verses are definite in meaning – these are the cornerstone of the Scripture – and others are ambiguous. The perverse at heart eagerly pursue the ambiguities in their attempt to pin down a specific meaning of their own: only God knows the true meaning. Those firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it: it is all from our Lord’ – only those with real perception will take heed.” (Or the final part of the verse may be read: “only God and those firmly grounded in knowledge know the true meaning. Say: ‘We believe in it…'”)

      I apologize if this seems rude; but it appears to me that you are among those “perverse at heart” referred to in this verse, who seek to pin down a specific meaning of your own. You are not a sincere believer seeking to understand God’s message, but a disbeliever seeking to find a reason to repudiate and ridicule the Revelation of God (which of course you don’t believe to be a Revelation from God). I am a believer, and seek God’s guidance as I use my reason in ‘interpreting’ the Revelation.

      I, as a believer, when asked “‘What has your Lord sent down’?” say “‘All that is good'” (16:30); you as a disbeliever, when asked the same question, will no doubt say “‘Ancient fables'” (16:24) or something similar. Those who wish to find something to ridicule will no doubt find what they wish; but I find “all that is good” in the Revelation. God guides whom He will; but no one can guide those whom God leaves to stray.

      If a sincere believer in God, His messengers, and His Scripture, wishes to take me to task for what he perceives to be an incorrect understanding in my writing, by all means let him/her do so. Or if a sincere believer wants to ask for my understanding about a particular verse or passage, or how I resolve an apparent conflict, I will be glad to answer. Not that I am an ‘Imam’ of have any ‘authority’ in Islam; but I am always ready to give an answer to someone who asks in sincerity for my opinion. He/she is then free to accept or reject it. If I am of help to someone, then as they say in Arabic, “alhamdulillah” (“praise be to God”). If what I say is not helpful, then may God deliver you from me! 🙂

      You, however, just wish to argue with me, in hopes apparently of getting me to renounce God’s Guidance. By God’s grace, you will never be successful in such an aim. Suffice it to say that I do not now, and almost certainly will never, see the evil things in the Qur’an which you think you find there; and I do not, nor hopefully will I ever, believe I have any Scriptural authority to engage in violent and/or lethal fighting with anyone who has not violently attacked me, someone in my family, friends, or even strangers whom I see being attacked. I may strongly disagree with their beliefs and practices; but I find no authority for violence against those who are not themselves being violent.

      I know at one time I welcomed further comments from you; but not being infallible Deity, I now ‘abrogate’ that welcome so long as all you’re wishing to do is try to argue me into believing the Book which I love teaches vicious things. If an ‘extremist’ – or someone being influenced by an ‘extremist’ – tries to use certain passages of the Qur’an in order to justify ungodly actions, I am quite willing to try to persuade him otherwise. But since you’re not trying to justify actions you actually plan on taking, but are only seeking to denounce the Qur’an, I would prefer to end the conversation.

      • Stephen,

        Good reply!

        • Thanks, AJ – and “alhamdulillah”. Peace and blessings be with you and all of your family.


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