Belgium Blasts and the Quran
At least 34 people were killed in bombings at the Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station in Belgium that took place on Tuesday.1 Such acts reflect the same pattern of aggression that typifies ISIS in all of its activities. The politically correct crowd continues to tout the tired notion that “Islam is a religion of peace, and such behavior does not represent true Islam.” This naïve, inaccurate depiction is inexcusable and unbelievably bizarre in view of the 1,400-year-long history of Islam throughout the world. It is fashionable to refer to the terrorists as “extremists” and “radicalized”—implying that they do not represent true Islam and the Quran. They are characterized as being guilty of embracing a “literalist” interpretation of the Quran. But this allegation fails to face the fact that the Quranic texts that advocate violence and killing to advance Islam are clearly literal and have been so taken by the vast majority of Islamic scholars for the last 1,400 years.2 Setting aside the Hadith which forthrightly promote violence, the Quran itself is riddled with admonitions for Muslims to commit precisely the violent actions and bloodshed being committed by the Islamic terrorists.
Read Surah 47:4 from the celebrated translation by Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).3
No one should be perplexed or surprised by the incessant practice of beheadings by ISIS and all terrorists, who are in a perpetual war with Christendom. The admonition to behead others comes straight from the Quran (cf. Surah 8:12). Abdullah Yusuf Ali makes the following comment on this passage in his widely reputable Muslim translation:
When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves (italics and parenthetical items in orig.).4
Many other verses in the Quran forthrightly endorse armed conflict and war to advance Islam (e.g., Surah 2:190ff.; 8:39ff.; 9:1-5,29; 22:39; 61:4; 4:101-104). Muslim historical sources themselves report the background details of those armed conflicts that have characterized Islam from its inception—including Muhammad’s own warring tendencies involving personal participation in and endorsement of military campaigns.5 Muslim scholar Pickthall’s own summary of Muhammad’s war record is an eye-opener: “The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight.”6
Islam stands in stark contrast to the religion of Jesus—Who never once took up the sword or encouraged anyone else to do so. The one time that one of His close followers took it upon himself to do so, the disciple was soundly reprimanded and ordered to put the sword away, with the added warning: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Indeed, when Pilate quizzed Jesus regarding His intentions, He responded: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36)—the very opposite of Islamic teaching and practice. Whereas the Quran boldly declares, “And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you” (Surah 2:194; cf. 22:60), Jesus counters, “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:39,44). Indeed, New Testament Christianity enjoins love for enemies (Matthew 5:44-46; Luke 6:27-36), returning good for evil, and overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:14,17-21).
So why does the politically correct crowd seem intent on ignoring 1,400 years of historical reality and unmistakable declarations within the Quran itself? It would appear that such blatant disregard is rooted in a single reason: an irrational regard for pluralism and bitter disdain for Christianity’s moral principles.
3 Mohammed Pickthall (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1934), The Meaning of the Holy Quran (Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications), 2002 reprint, p. 1315.
5 cf. Martin Lings (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International), pp. 86,111.
6 p. xxvi.