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Islam and the Parity and Context Arguments

Written by Richard Butrick   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 07:08

Islam and the Parity and Context Arguments

Despite the numerous passages in the Koran excoriating infidels
and demanding Muslims wage a perpetual stealth or overt war on infidel nations and peoples, Muslim apologists claim that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and that “Allah is all merciful.”

There are basically two arguments used to defend this position: the parity argument and the context argument.

Just to get things started, here is a lovely passage from the Koran:

Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies (22:19)

The Parity argument

This is the “yes-but” argument. Of course there are violent passages in the Koran. Muhammad lived in violent times with Islam constantly under attack. Moreover, the same can be said about the Bible. There are violent passages throughout the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 17 tells believers what to do with non-believers “… bring that man or woman to the gates of the city ... and stone them with stones until they die." As another example, Psalm 137, states, "Blessed is he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." In fact the Old Testament is filled with tales of divinely-ordained slaughter and war. Violent psalms in the Bible are recited every day in the Christian faith yet Christians today are not under suspicion of adhering to a violent religion. Christians try to live by the commandment of Jesus in the New Testament to "love thy neighbor as you love thyself." Then why cannot Christians accept that Muslims, by and large, live by the passages in the Koran that urge peace between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Muslims, like Christians and Jews, face a similar dichotomy of ideas urging kindness and tolerance on the one hand and violence and oppression on he other. For instance the in the Koran we learn that there is "no coercion in matters of faith" and then that Muslims must "fight those who believe not in Allah."

Let us look as this apologia. It is based on the claim that there is something of a parity of violent passages in all the Abrahamic religions. This chart compiled by the Center for the study of Political Islam says it all.

In the first place there is no New Testament in Islam. Christians follow (or are supposed to follow) the New Testament which contains hardly any passages exhorting violence or exhorting the imposition of Christianity. And even the Old testament has one tenth the number of words extolling violence as does Islam (the trilogy). Moreover, though it would be difficult to statistically analyze, the violent passages in Islam are much more violent.

There is no parity. Islam has ten times more space devoted to violence than the Old Testament and the Christian New Testament has practically none by comparison.

The context argument

There is general scholarly agreement that the Prophet Muhammad's words turned more militant later in life, after his Medina victory, The post Medina Muhammad and the forces of Islam were continually embroiled in warfare of one sort or another.
Moreover, while some fundamentalist Muslims may declare they follow Muhammad's instructions to "fight the infidels," moderate scholars argue the infidels he was referring to have been dead for 1,300 years.

To get the flavor of the “violent” passages consider these verses:

The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them (9:30)

Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam. (5:33

Terrorise and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an (8:12)

Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels (8:60)

The argument is, then, that these passages refer to Islam when Islam was under attack.

The problem with this argument is that Islam divides the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. There is the world of Islam and then there is the world of war. Allah will not be happy until all the world is under Islam. This is the objective of Islam. And Islam, certainly unlike Christianity today or arguably any other of the religions of today, does not care what is in the heart of the infidel as long as the infidel submits by swearing fealty to Islam or submits to subjugation under Islam. According to the eminent Islamic scholar Dr. Buti, 'What is required of an infidel or the one who confuses other gods with God, is to have his tongue surrender to the religion of God and to subdue himself to the prophethood of Muhammad. But his heartfelt faith is not required at the beginning. It will come later."'

Christianity, by contrast, seeks to convert through the heart and belief. Islam could care less - at least initially. Since the penalty for apostasy once one has converted is death, the heart is bound to follow in time.

The overriding consideration is that one must behave as a Muslim, accept Sharia, and perform the duties of a Muslim - never mind what is in the heart. Islam means “submission” and jihad is the mission of every Muslim. Islamic scholars distinguish between the “greater” jihad, the personal struggle to become a better Muslim, and the “lesser” jihad which is political jihad or waging war against the infidel world. Here are the facts:

Over 50% of the Koran of Medina deals with hypocrites and jihad against unbelievers. Nearly 75% of the Sira deals with jihad. About 20% of the Hadith by Bukhari is about jihad. The majority of the doctrine is political and it is all violent. A simple counting method shows that 3% of the hadiths are about the inner struggle, whereas, 97% of the hadiths are about jihad as war. So is jihad the inner struggle? Yes, 3%. Is jihad the war against kafirs? Yes, 97%.

In summary, the context argument is based on the claim that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance and the violent passages in the Islamic texts all deal with situations in which Muslims are under attack and that all the talk about violent jihad is misleading as ‘jihad” mostly refers to the personal struggle to become a better Muslim. It is completely false. Islam is always at war with Dar al-Harb and the jihad passages are overwhelmingly call--for-war jihads. your social media marketing partner
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