Ms Raccoon has had her nose in this book all week-end. As with the bible, one can play pick nâ mixâ to oneâs heart content. I hadnât quite appreciated why it was so easy to come up with competing quotes to suit your (usually Twitter!) purposes. Take this:
âThere shall be no compulsion in the religionâ. Qurâan 2:256
The very essence of âpeaceful Islamâ? Indeed, but read on:
I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.â Qurâan 8:12
Like the bible, the Qurâan has two parts. Basically what Allah told Muhammad when he was meditating in a cave in Mecca, and what Allah told him after he had fled to Medina with his followers.
Mecca was a polymath city whose main source of income was storing the various idols that people came to worship â Mecca, his birthplace tolerated many different âreligionsâ. What they didnât tolerate, after quietly coexisting with this ânewâ version of Allah, as preached by Muhammad, was Muhammad joining forces with the city of Medina to force them all to follow Muhammad.
After Muhammad fled to Medina 13 years later, his rhetoric changed somewhat. Where he had believed:
Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. Qurâan 109:1-6
Now he wanted to:
… kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. Qurâan 2:191-193
It all depends on whereabouts you delve into the text, and whether you believe (as apparently ISIS do) that the later texts abrogate the earlier ones. Apparently some Muslims excuse the later verses by saying that they were penned during a time of much conflict and war â but either the Qurâan is an authoritative book of law or it isnât. If it is merely a historic account of Muhammadâs changing state of mind as he travelled the country then we can discount the âpeacefulâ verses as being representative of true Islam, and put them down to Muhammad being in a better frame of mind towards his fellow citizens.
To say that there is âno religious excuseâ for the tragedy that is Paris today is nonsense â there is a religious excuse, right there â Qurâan 2:191-193. It is not âpure evilâ â it is human beings living by their version of the demands of a Holy Book.
To describe ISIS as following a âmedieval religionâ and demand that adherents are backward and should join the modern world in making Islam a religion of peace is to ignore that the âreligion of peaceâ was the earliest version. What you are asking is that ISIS revert to an even more medieval version that only lasted for 13 years until Muhammad went to Medina.
If what the commentators who say that Islam is a âreligion of peaceâ really mean is that most Muslims ignore Muhammadâs later teachings, that is to dispute that the Qurâan is the word of Allah â and unless Allah has specified that you can ignore what he has said â then you canât. Simple as that.
What is needed is an authoritative figure â the King of Saudi Arabia? â to declare once and for all which bits of the Qurâan are to be followed, and which bits ignored.
Then we will know whether we are at war â and Mohammed Emwazi was a casualty of war â or whether we just brought in capital punishment (so long as you are abroad) by the back door.
Right now we have Sky TV, with its extensive business model not wanting to upset its Muslim client base, telling us what a charming child Emwazi was (invariably described as âJihadi Johnâ, making him sound like a slightly roguish second hand car dealer) and interviewing his hand wringing supporters, then reverting to interviews with FrancÌ§ois Hollande telling us that he will be âmerciless towards the barbariansâ that have overnight butchered 132+ of his fellow countrymen.
Demanding elation amongst we compliant citizens, that American technology has managed to blast one disaffected British citizen into small pieces who was unwise enough to use his mobile phone to tell the missus he was on his way home for dinner, is a puny response to a confused populace that is repeatedly told it is illegal to feel anything but love in their hearts towards those who hold the Quarâan as a lifestyle manual. We need a declaration regarding which bits of the Quarâan, and how we are allowed to feel towards those who regard the later texts as authoritative.
Am I the only person confused? (Please donât tell me that you can pick ânâ mix the Bible, I am well aware of that and we are not currently carrying out mass executions based on it).
A plague on all the Holy Books.