Islam is not a religion of peace

Mohammad Asghar

Published on 01 April, 2006

I am penning this article after being inspired by the slogan the Daily Star of Bangladesh carries on its front page. It claims that it is a newspaper that is engaged in �Journalism without fear or favour.� I am sure the Daily Star would keep its promise or assurance to its readers by publishing this article on one of its main pages.

In its issue of September 23, 2005, the Daily News has published a news item under the headline of �Political double standards must stop to end global terrorism.� The demand to shun political double standards to end global terrorism was raised in a seminar held in Dhaka. The seminar was titled �Islam: Religion of Peace, Progress and Harmony; Bangladesh: Model of a Moderate Muslim Nation.� Many local and regional intellectuals and Muslim scholars took part in this seminar.

All the participants of the seminar declared that �Islam is a treasure of peace and doctrine of disciplines; everybody should understand Islam as a religion promoting peace and progress.� This was, in my judgment, the catch phrase that has induced most of the newspapers of Bangladesh to print it on their front pages.

But is Islam really a treasure of peace and doctrine of disciplines? Does it promote progress?

To find out answers to the above questions, we need to investigate how and why Islam was founded and also, if its doctrines, as outlined in the Quran, promote peace and progress among Muslims and the practitioners of other faiths. Since delving in all the details would become voluminous, I am restricting myself to some of the salient features of Islam with the hope that those readers who are desirous of learning more about this faith and its doctrines would satisfy their inquisitiveness by carrying out their own researches on them.

Contrary to the general belief, the religion of Islam was not intended for the people of the entire world. The fact that the Prophet Muhammad had launched his movement to dislodge the Quraish priests from the highly profitable posts of the Ka�aba and to have them reallocated to himself and to his followers is inferable from the Quran itself. His aforesaid attempt was akin to the attempt that Jesus Christ had made for removing the Jewish rabbis from their top priestly positions of the temples of Jerusalem.

About the Prophet�s movement, the Quran says:

�Thus have We sent by inspiration to thee an Arabic Quran: that thou mayest warn the Mother of Cities [i.e. Mecca] and around her, - and warn (them) of the Day of Assembly, of which there is no doubt: (when) some will be in the Garden, and some in the Blazing Fire (42:7).

The above stipulation of the Quran is reinforced by another verse in which it is stated:

�For me, I have been commanded to serve the Lord of this City [i.e. Mecca], Him Who has sanctified it and to Whom (belong) all things: and I am commanded to be of those who bow in Islam to Allah�s Will, - (27:91).

It is clear from the above two verses of the Quran that the scope and the purpose of Islam were limited to the City of Mecca and that it was an unnamed Deity who had commanded the Prophet Muhammad to serve the Lord [i.e. Allah] of Mecca, who had sanctified it and to whom belonged all the things that this City contained at that time.

Maulana Abul Ala Mududi�s comment on verse 27:91 is succinct. He says:

�Finally, the sura addresses itself to the excuse often put forward by the Meccan unbelievers. They argued that if they accepted the new, monotheistic Faith and abandon their old polytheistic religion, they would lose their religious, political and social ascendancy among the Arabs. The result of embracing the new Faith would be that, far from remaining the most powerful tribe in Arabia, they would be reduced to a tribe devoid of power and standing and be deprived of security and protection. This was the real reason behind the Quraysh nobility�s non-acceptance of Islam. .. (Towards Understanding the Quran; Vol. 7, p. 194).

Islam�s original purpose, scope, intention and design changed after the Prophet�s migration to Medina. Here, he saw a different prospect for his creed. Here, he found a group of people he could make pay him with their life and wealth for refusing to accept his Islamic doctrines. And these people were the rich Jews of Medina whose other offence was that they exercised great influence on the Pagans of this City.

In order to subdue the Meccan Pagans and the Jews of Medina and its neighborhood, the Prophet of Islam launched over one hundred raids and expeditions. He personally took part in twenty-seven of them. He tried to loot a peaceful and unarmed caravan of the Meccans (cf. Quran; 3:13; and also see Abdullah Yusuf Ali�s comment 352, The Holy Quran, Vol. 1. p. 125). He fought three major battles against the Meccan Pagans and these were the battles of Badr, Ditch and of Uhud.

Muhammad had launched all the raids and expeditions and fought all the battles not only to spread Islam but also to kill and plunder his enemies as well as to enslave their women for his and his followers� sexual pleasure. On deriving sexual pleasure from the slaves (who are referred to in the Quran as �the possession of the Muslims� right hands), the Muslims� Holy Book says:

�O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possess out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and the daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Mecca) with thee; and any believing women who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her; - this only for thee and not for the believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess; - in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful� (Quran; 33:50).

The fact that Islam had become a dominant force in the Arabian Peninsula through murder, loot and enslavement negates all the claims we now hear from Muslims and their scholars. A doctrine that took birth in such a manner can neither be a peaceful one, nor its application at any time and at any place can be defended by anyone who has some elements of intelligence and common sense.

Intolerance towards non-Muslims was one of the important characteristics of the Prophet of Islam. On the authority of Ubaydullah b. Abdullah b. Utba b. Masud tells us the following: �The only dispositions that the Apostle made at his death were three: He bequeathed to the Rahawis land which produced a hundred loads in Khaybar, to the Dariyis, the Sabais, and the Asharis the same. He also gave instructions that the mission of Usama bin Zayd b. Haritha should be carried through and that two religions should not be allowed to remain in the Peninsula of the Arabs (Sirat Rasulallah, p. 523).

It is in keeping with the Prophet�s instruction from his deathbed that has forced the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia not to permit any religion other than Islam to exist on its soil. The fact, being what I have briefly stated above, does not support the claim made by all Muslims and their scholars. Their claims are simply untrue and baseless.

Put in a nutshell: Islam is not tolerant of other religions. Therefore, to claim that it is a religion of peace and harmony is simply untenable.

Muslims of all hues and backgrounds claim that Bangladesh is a moderate Islamic country. It is not true, as was the claim of the Bangladesh government on the existence of Islamic terrorists on its soil. Despite the fact that a large number of observers, both local and international, had always drawn the government�s attention to the looming threats it faced from the Islamic terrorists, almost all political leaders of the country, including its Prime Minister, brushed them aside with the proclamation that due to the very nature of Islam, no Muslim could ever take up terrorism as a tool to achieve their political and economic goals. The events of August 17, 2005 proved that most, if not all, of the Bangladeshi leaders were liars. They are now trying to apprehend those criminals whose existence they never acknowledged until the Islamic terrorists knocked at their doors with their Islamic bombs.

Like the Bangladeshi political leaders, Muslim scholars have also been disseminating lies in order to prove that Bangladesh is a moderate nation. I would have taken their claim as being a credible one, if they had also declared that Muslims do not need to rely on the Quran and that what are stated in it were meant for the time it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. A Muslim leader cannot be a moderate leader or turn his or her country into a moderate nation, if that leader is a good Muslim. Here is the reason based on which I have made the above statement:

The Quran says:

�Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth [i.e. Islam] (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued� (9:29).

Through the above revelation, Allah has made it compulsory for the Muslim leaders to fight the non-Muslims until they acknowledge Islam and to agree to pay higher taxes with willing submission (to Islam) and feel themselves subdued (dhimmitude is the other name of �subduedness�).

In the light of the above stipulation of the Quran, how can a Muslim, having a little bit of common sense, claim that Islam promotes equality, moderation, tolerance and peace?