Tea Partyers are playing rope-a-quote with the Quran . Not that they’ve read it; they’ve just picked out ‘the good bits.’ So in honor of Ramadan, here’s the first in a series on what the Quran really says. Try this for a start:
When God delivers the city into your hands, you shall smite every male with the edge of your sword… You shall save alive nothing that breathes, but shall utterly destroy them all.”
Oops, sorry, wrong book. That’s Deuteronomy 20, from the peace-loving passage in verses 12 through 18. Here’s the right one:
Slay the unbelievers wherever you come upon them.
Ah, that’s more like it: Quran 2, part of verse 187. Phew. They really do want to kill us.
Or do they? Here’s the quote in context:
Fight in the way of God with those who fight with you, but aggress not: God loves not the aggressors. And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy House unless they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them.
It helps to know that these verses are very specific: they refer to the conquest of Mecca, from which Muhammad and his supporters had been expelled eight years earlier. And they are bound about with conditions: only if the unbelievers persist in aggression, for example, and only after a truce time expires, and only if they break pre-existing agreements. Which might be why only eight people were killed.
Meanwhile, over in Deuteronomy 20, it continues this way:
Of the cities of these people which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them. Namely, the Hittities and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.
That’s a lot of people. And this is far from the only kill-em-all order in the bible. There’s plenty more in Judges and Samuel, just for starters. Look up the word “destroy” in a biblical concordance, and you’ll find one of the longest lists it offers. The entry for peace is barely a quarter as long.
In short, there’s nothing on warfare in the Quran that hasn’t been said at far greater length, far more times, in far more detail and far worse terms, in the Holy Bible that the Tea Partyers hold so dear.
So one more Quranic quote (9:7) seems apt:
So long as they go straight with you, do you go straight with them.
Let’s try that: going straight with each other.
Thank you for this, Lesley.
As usual you have poured the ambrosia of wholesome clarity over poisonous muddled thought. I prefer that to the nasty tea being served at the party. Warmly, T’m
What a simple and effective way to put this petty “my religion is better than yours” behind us — simple mathematics. The way I see it, the trash talk in the Bible and the trash talk in the Quran cancel each other out. Maybe that’s what they mean by going straight with each other? Start fresh.
Lesley, your work is immensely appreciated; please give us more. I’ve tried and tried to read the Bible but it’s dangerously heavy when it falls on my face after my eyes drop shut. Sadly, though, the people who should be reading your message will refuse to — they do not want to be confused with facts.
Love how you so skillfully simplify the commonality of religions. Taking out context, much of what appears in these books can be truly scary. I see it in my Holy book, the Koran when believers take certain ‘ayat’, verses, to justify killing non believers. I am equally distressed when I see how non-Muslims use the same verses to condemn Islam. While the message of Islam is for all the ages, it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in pieces and as events unfolded. Muhammad’s most vehement enemies were his own Arab tribe. I try to live my life guided by Islam’s mandate: Kill an innocent person and God shall punish you as if you have killed all of humanity. Save a life and your reward as that who has saved all of humanity. For me Islam is the best there is to be a good citizen and a servant of God. I serve others, I do not lie, I do not kill, I take care of my parents, my family and my neighbors and I pay my taxes. A good Muslim is a great citizen.
Lesley, your writing is one of the most important resources I use in my job as a teacher (history, RE & citizenship) in Bradford, England. It has helped me enormously, and I hope, by extension, my pupils. Thank you so much.
My privilege, V. Thanks for thanking me! — Lesley
Not to knit-pick , but even using your own quotes, a very glaring difference in the quotes are obvious. In the bible quote you provide, the limits and context is very specific against whom to fight: Hittities, Amorites, the Canaanites ,Perizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.
Historical tribes which no longer exist and not relevant in today’s world, so one could say the verses are no longer applicable , certainly not to christians who have not gone fighting these tribes for a good few centuries now. Nor used these verses to visit terror and destruction on people for a good few thousand years now.
Like the bible for christians,where the new testament replaces the old testament with Jesus ‘s coming and all. So to does the quran abrogate earlier verses with later verse. Like Mohammed said, when two verses contradict each to her, the latter is to be followed. (The latter being when islam is dominant as opposed to the earlier, when it was not).
But the point is, the Al Baqra verse you quote (it is actually verse 190, the jihad verse) is later abrogated with chapter (9) sūrat l-tawbah (The Repentance) which states the following:
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
Do you see the difference between the verses?
The bible places a limitation and context in the war against a people. Meaning it is valid for a specific time,place and people(Hittities, Amorites, the Canaanites ,Perizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites).
The koran on the other hand, makes it a universal command. Not limited to a time, place or time. But to fight ANYONE who does not believe in Allah perpetually.
I find it quite revealing that you pinpoint to the tea partiers as being so and so with their bible and beliefs and not reading the quran..( it hints to your bigotry in itself, does it not?). When it is so easy to pick apart your accusation that the bible is so much worse than the quran , and you yourself either ignorantly or willfully deceives with the quran.
This is like the verse we are ad nauseam fed from the koran:
“…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).
This is so fluffy and good is it not? Surely a religion of peace.
However the full verse reads as follows:
“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”
and verse 33:
“The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
Some points about this:
the fluffy verse explicitly states that this was a commandment to the Children of Israel, i.e. the Jews! This is not a commandment to all people, and it certainly should not be misused as if this is Allah’s command to Muhammad’s people
And verse 33 is referring to the Muslims, not the Jews anymore, as we can tell in the shift from past tense to present tense. And here, the punishment for mischief is clearly prescribed: execution, crucifixion, mutilation, or at the least, exile. This is the command given to the Muslims. Quite clearly, it does not teach what the Muslims proclaim it teaches; in fact, it teaches almost the exact opposite.
in conclusion. the bible has some horrible things in it, sure. But they are limited in context as I explained above. The bible had been reformed with the new testament and christianity had been reformed and apologised for its treatment to jews etc.
the quran has no limitation or context for its horrible commands against all non-muslims. Islam has not reformed and has never apologized for its treatment of non-muslims or its specific jew hatred.
A final word on your last quote from the quran:
“So long as they go straight with you, do you go straight with them.”
The full verse is as follows:
“How can there be a treaty with Allah and with His messenger for the idolaters save those with whom ye made a treaty at the Inviolable Place of Worship ? So long as they are true to you, be true to them. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty.”
In simple terms: Don’t make treaties with non-Muslims. They are all evildoers and should not be trusted.
The entire chapter 9 (Repentance) is filled with how to treat non-muslims. Chilling stuff…
Cherry-pick away. What strikes me is how very similar the quotes you chose are to statements made re the Palestinians by Israel’s new justice minister, Ayelet Shaked. Who I believe claims to be Jewish…