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The Experts: Part Two
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Projected Islamic Ideal
The Experts: Part Two

Anwar Shaikh

Emblem of Islam: Crescent and Star

I have little space to prolong the moral description of the Islamic utopia but I must state some historical facts about Uthman, the 3rd Caliph, leading to his assassination by the faithful. Though the Prophet had given him his two daughters in marriage (one after the other), it does not appear that he had the same measure of love for the Messenger as did Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali; he appointed his foster brother, Abdullah, over Egypt. It is the same Abdullah who had tampered with the words of the Koran when he acted as the Prophet's amanuensis. It was considered such a heinous crime that he was one of the ten men whom the Prophet had proscribed during the capture of Mecca. He made his half-brother, al-Walid Ibn-Uqbah the governor of Kufah. This is the man who had spat on Muhammad's face and had been condemned by him. He put his cousin Marwan Ibn-al-Hakim (a future Umayyad caliph) in charge of the Diwan (treasury). All his relatives rose to high positions in the government and became rich through expensive gifts they received through the Caliph. In fact, he himself accepted presents; once the governor of Basrah, among other things, made him a present of a beautiful slave girl.

Uthman's nepotism led to an uprising in Kufah among Ali's followers. It soon spread to Egypt, resulting in the arrival of 500 protestors in Medina. On June 17, 656, they assassinated him mercilessly. It was Muhammad, son of Abu Bakr, his friend and predecessor, who broke into his residence and struck the first blow when he was reading the Holy Koran. What a show of respect for the Word of Allah by the son of Abu Bakr Siddique! These historical facts do not blend in with the tales of reverence that the faithful have forged to bestow superhuman qualities on their Arab heroes.

I may also add that Ibn-E-Battutah when visited the Basrah Mosque in 1377, saw the copy of the Koran that Uthman was reading at the time of his assassination. He noticed that surah 2:131 ("When the Lord said unto him: surrender! he said: I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds") had been stained by Uthman's blood as it oozed from his wounded body. Nobody thought of bringing Uthman to the Court of Justice. It is preposterous to think of a state as a utopia where people lack respect for the rule of law.

Those who lived in Arabia during the times of Muhammad, were not superhuman but people having normal feelings of love and hate, friendship and animosity. Fatima, the favorite daughter of the Prophet never spoke to Abu Bakr, who had refused her the inheritance of her father's property. She, along with her husband Ali, also withheld allegiance for six months from Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam. Strictly speaking, it is an act of rebellion against Allah, and carried terrible punishment according to the Koran.

Again, Aisha, the favorite wife of the Prophet, who happened to be the daughter of Abu Bakr, was the deadly enemy of Ali, because he had once suspected her fidelity. The "Battle of Camel" has been named after her because she rode a camel and used it as a rallying point to incite the rebel warriors against Ali but failed. Had she succeeded, the fate of the house of Muhammad might have been even worse than what happened at Karbala. Yet we are told that the time of Khilafat-E-Rashidah was the golden period of Islam!

It was surely, the golden period for the Arabs, who had been lifted from the abyss of pain, penury and primitiveness to the pinnacle of pomp, power and prestige by the genius of Muhammad that has welded them into a military aristocracy, which thrived on plunder of the foreign nations exactly the same way as did the Romans and Persians of that era.

History shows that conquerors of all ages have been tempted by the lure of plunder and power; the greater the chances of pillage, the higher the urge for raiding foreign nations; the success guaranteed wealth and political ascendancy. The other warlords could benefit their soldiers only if they won and survived hazards of the battle. The dead soldier, no matter how valiantly fought, usually lost his life in vain.

The Prophet Muhammad had an extremely difficult task to accomplish because the people were not a nation but mutually warring tribal factions. They could not be marshaled into a military aristocracy without culminating their cultural traditions of fighting among themselves. It was such a national challenge, which only the genius of Muhammad could tackle successfully. He declared that whose fought for glory of Arabia in the name of Allah (the Arab God), was sure to be rewarded irrespective of whether he lost or won, survived the battle or got killed. This was the scheme that had not been thought of by any one previously. It laid down: Fighting for Allah (a euphemism for Arabian glory) is the greatest act of piety and worship. If a combatant dies in action, he goes to paradise where he lives an eternal life of extravagance surrounded by most beautiful virgins and the prettiest boys, and his relatives (on earth) also get the share of loot, had he survived the hostilities. If he loses the battle, still he shall be rewarded by the most bounteous Allah provided he has fought bravely and has not willfully sought escape from the battlefield.

This 'no-lose' concept of reward ascended, not only fear of danger, disability and death, but also overruled all considerations of conscience, conduct and companionship because it was laid down clearly that the greatest virtue is to murder, rape and pillage in the name of Allah, all those, who do not believe in Muhammad and acknowledge Arabian hegemony.

The Prophet devoted his whole life to explain this novel philosophy, especially by applying it to the Arabian Jews, whose wealth was looted, properties confiscated, women and children enslaved and men murdered and banished. All these acts constituted high morality because they brought affluence to the hungry Arabs. Plundering the Jews was only a limited source of satisfying the Arab expectations and had been exhausted by the Prophet in his lifetime. At his death, the things moved into the reverse gear because the Bedouins (the ordinary Arab folk used to nomadic life) were required to pay Zakaat, a compulsory religious tax. To them, it appeared a strange demand; they had converted to Islam to receive and not to pay. They refused and openly rebelled against Islam. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, though crushed the revolt with a firm hand, understood the real cause of apostasy and uprising. This wise man of Arabia realised that armed suppression could neither keep the Arabs into the Islamic faith nor could it maintain peace in the country; the only remedy was to find ways for applying the Prophet's philosophy of Jehad to secure loot and slave women for his people. History has noted that with this truth in mind, Abu Bakr summoned to a Holy War (Jehad) the people in Mecca, Taif, Yaman, Najd and Hijaz by appealing to their lust for booty. Rustam, the Persian general, who defended his country against these crusaders, said to the Arab envoy:" I have learnt that you were forced to what ye are doing by nothing but the narrow means of livelihood and poverty."

The Muslims of the Indian subcontinent proudly assert that it is Islam, which first laid the foundation of the welfare state. How mistaken they are. It was an Arab i.e. Umar, the Great, who thought of this innovation for his people i.e. the Arabs, only because it was solely for their benefit, and Muslims of the foreign lands had no share in it. The plain truth is that whereas the Arab children, the sick and the old, enjoyed a peaceful, prosperous and profuse life, their Muslim counterparts in the conquered territories were subjected to meanness, misery and melancholy through fear of plunder, pressure and persecution. Their destiny was to provide funds for the Arab welfare state through sweat and drudgery.

This is the reason that history can locate description of the Arab beneficiaries but no such mention can be found of the conquered people. Here is a short description of the truth, confirmed by "the first census recorded in history for the distribution of state revenues."

Aisha headed the list with a pension of 12,000 Dirhams a year. After the Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet's family) came the Emigrants and supporters, each with a subsidy according to his precedence in the profession of the new faith. About 5,000 or 4,000 Dirhams per annum was the average allotment to each person in this category. At the bottom came the mass of Arabian tribes arranged in the register according to military service and knowledge of the Koran. The minimum for an ordinary warrior was 500-600 Dirhams...., women and children's benefits ranged from 200 to 600 Dirhams per annum.

Where did the money come from? Let history provide the guidance.

When Alexandria was conquered, Amr Ibn-al Aas wrote to Umar, the Caliph:

"I have captured a city from the description of which I shall refrain. Suffice it to say that I have seized therein 4,000 villas with 4,000 baths, 40,000 poll-tax paying Jews and four hundred palaces for the royalty."

Even the type of wealth generated from pillage and taxation did not prove enough to satisfy the Arab beneficiaries; "Umar, feeling that Amr (Ibn al-Aas) was not securing enough revenue, put Abdullah Ibn Sad Ibn-Ali-Sarh in charge of Upper Egypt!"

I think that this brief analysis is sufficient to expose the truth about the Islamic utopia. One also wonders that if utopia is the dream of Islam, then what has happened to the utopias in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries?

Now, we may proceed to examine the claim that there is no coercion in Islam i.e. a person cannot be forced to accept or practise Islam.

The claim is based on Cow, 2:255, which says "No compulsion is there in religion."

Those who know the Koran, are aware of the fact that this verse does not represent the true Islamic principle of detesting, debilitating and destroying non-Muslims but mirrors its precept of convenience, that is, asserting something which suits its purpose, according to the needs of the occasion even though it may be fully opposed to its fundamental doctrines.

To Understand this truth, read the following: (The Unbelievers, CIX:5) "To you your religion, and to me my religion."

It is Prophet Muhammad, who is making this declaration at the behest of Allah. This statement can be held as an interposition because it apparently admits people's right to follow their own religions. In fact, it is utterly opposed to the basic spirit and purpose of the Koran, which seeks to exhalt Islam by abolishing all other faiths through forced conversion and by killing or reducing their followers to the status of despicable tributaries.

There is a glaring contradiction between the quoted verses though they both apparently advocate freedom of deed and devotion. The reason is simple: according to the Koran, God sent the Prophet to people for converting them to Islam, the only true and acceptable religion to Him. If this is the real purpose of Muhammad's Prophethood, then how can he make such a neutral or conciliatory assertion?

In view of the above discussion, one finds the following Koranic claim simply extraordinary:

(Women, IV:80)
"Why do they not ponder the Koran?
If it had been from other than God
surely they would have found in it much inconsistency."

Though the verses that I have previously quoted vouch for the basic inconsistencies that pervade the texture of the Koran, I may prolong this discussion to establish that I have not resorted to misinterpretation, because intolerance of non-Muslims is actually, the hallmark of Islam.

Here is the cardinal principle of its faith:

(The Disputer, LVIII:20)
"Those (unbeievers) are Satan's party;
why Satan's party, surely, they are the losers!
Surely those who oppose God and his Messenger,
those are among the most despicable. God has
written, 'I shall assuredly be the Victor,
I and my Messengers.'
They shalt not find any people who believe
in God and the Last Day, who are loving to
anyone who opposes God and His Messenger,
not though they were their fathers, or their sons,
or their brothers, or their clan....
Those are God's party; why surely God's party - they
are the prosperers."

In simple English, it means:

1. Those who do not believe in Allah and Prophet
Muhammad, are Satan's party.
They are the most despicable people, and sure to lose.

2. Those who believe in Allah and Muhammad are
God's party; they do not love any unbeliever even
if he be his father, son, brother or his entire clan.

3. Believers and unbelievers are eternally at war
with each other; the believers shall be the
winners and the unbelievers shall be the losers

Now, one can see that Islam has basically divided society into believers and non-believers, who are locked into an everlasting struggle, which will end in the victory of the Muslims.

The ideology is far more stern than what Karl Marx had preached. God's most cherished goal is the derision, despoiling and destruction of the non-Muslims; the Koran has appointed Muslims as the true Crusaders, with unambiguous duties and rewards:

(Repentance, IX:110)
"God has bought from the believers their selves
and their possessions against the gift of the paradise;
they fight in the way of God; they kill and are killed;
that is a promise binding on God."

Here, it is quite clear that the sole purpose of a Muslim's life is to live as a soldier of Allah to kill unbelievers; if he gets killed in the process, God makes a binding promise to give him a place in the paradise. What a Divine bribe it is for hating non-Muslims! The climax is reached when the Koran declares:

(Repentance, IX:20)
"O believers, do not treat your fathers and
mothers as your friends, if they prefer unbelief
to belief; whomsoever of you takes them
for friends, they are evil-doers."

One wonders if an ideology can be called a religion if it preaches contempt, callousness and cruelty toward one's own parents. Yet the Koran claims:

(The House of Imran,III:15)
"The true religion with God is Islam."

It further claims:

(Victory, XLVIII:25)
"It is He (God) who has sent His Messenger with
the guidance and the religion of truth, that
He may uplift it above every religion."

The only truth is Islam and God has sent Muhammad with the sole purpose of making it dominant over all other religions! This is why the Koran declares:

(The Cow,II: 90)
"Certainly, Allah is an enemy to the unbelievers."

Allah has laid down law to solve this problem:

(Repentance, (X:25)
"Fight those who believe not in God and the Last
Day - such men as practise not the
religion of truth (Islam) - until they pay tribute
out of hand and have been humiliated."

The above is, indeed, a very brief description of the Islamic attitude toward non-Muslims. Can anybody honestly believe that Islam is an ambassador of peace or tolerant of other religions?

One can see practical enforcement of the Koranic view in the Islamic countries. The Prophet himself massacred and exiled all Jews from Arabia. And even in modern times, the numbers of infidels in the Muslim countries are either nil or minimal. Where the Muslims form a sizeable proportion of the population, the country becomes a living hell because they treat their own homeland as Dar-ul-Harb i.e. a battlefield and act accordingly. India is an example of this truth.

Anwar Shaikh

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