The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has posted beheadings of two Americans on Social Media and threatened another British worker with beheading. In the news this week, ISIS called on followers in Australia to behead innocent citizens within their cities and has called on followers in the United States to kidnap and behead military personnel, all to prove their power and reach into our lives.
What does the Quran say about beheading? Is there really something in the Holy book of Islam that suggests beheading the infidels is a path to paradise where you can have whatever you wish? Or is beheading just a gruesome act that extreme Islamists have adopted as a scare tactic? Does this group called ISIS, or ISIL, truly not represent Islam like our President has insisted?
Quran 8:12 says,
“When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
Is the religion of Islam peaceful? Have the “radicals” just taken peaceful passages from the Quran and interpreted them into directives to kill all who do not worship Allah? In researching the Quran, I came across a paper by Bassam Khoury titled, Is Islam a Peace-Loving Religion?, where he said,
“In order to understand the Quran, it is imperative that you understand the concept of “abrogation.””
In the Quran there are many verses that contradict themselves throughout the writings, sometimes more than once. “Abrogation” says that Muslims must know which verse came first and which came later, because when there is a contradiction, the latest writing is the one that should be taken as truth. Verses early in the Quran call for a peaceful response to any who oppose Islam:
“Therefore expound opening what thou art commanded, and turn away from those who join false gods with Allah.”
However, later in the Quran, there are verses which say the exact opposite:
“But when the forbidden months are past, than fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.”
So which one are they to believe? By the rules of abrogation, Muslims must believe the latter. The majority of Islamic scholars say that one verse of the Quran, which speaks of violence against non believers, abrogates 124 verses, which are all the verses that speak of peace and forgiveness. Therefore, are we to believe that the Quran supports and encourages violence against non-believers? If it does, why would peace-loving believers of Islam say that violence is not permitted if, in fact, abrogation is the rule of law in the Quran? Mr. Khoury speaks of a quote by Abu Hammid Ghazali, a Professor at the Nizamiyah University of Baghdad, which was recognized as one of the most reputed institutions of learning in the golden era of Muslim history. He said,
“Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible.”
So what are we to believe? Who are we to believe?
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