Violence in earliest Islam

Nov 2016
480
Germany
#1
First, the development of the protagonist. Probably born in Mecca in 570, Muhammad was raised after early orphanage by desert bedouins and then admitted by relatives in Mecca, where he worked as a camel driver. At the age of 25 he met the rich and much older Chadidja, became her lover and ran her business. Khadidya's desire to marry Muhammad was rejected by her father, who suspected him of being an heirloom. Thereupon the drinking father was put into an alcohol stupor, in which he agreed to the marriage. Back to his senses, he vowed bloody revenge on his son-in-law, but died before it could come to that. Now rich, Muhammad has become part of the social elite of Mecca. His faith was Arab polytheistic at the time.

From 610, i.e. from the age of 40, there were drastic changes in his personality. He deteriorated physically, neglected his appearance, ate hardly anything, wandered around the Meccan countryside and claimed to be haunted by "visions" and threatened by screaming rocks and stones. He was seen shivering in fear, sitting around in caves. Shortly before he wanted to throw himself out of desperation from a high rock, he heard someone who called himself "Allah" say to him that he was chosen to proclaim "the truth".

Thereupon Muhammad returned to Mecca. The first missionary successes were modest. He began with his 10-year-old nephew, his wife Chadidja and his business friend Abu Bakr, later Muhammad's first successor after his death. Two years later, his following included eight people. Only then did Muhammad begin to preach publicly and threaten fortune tellers and magicians in the area of the Kaaba (Meccan sanctuary). Because of his eccentric behavior he was finally asked to leave Mecca. In 613, Bedouin tribes took admitted him for three years, to whom he assured that he had been sent as a prophet by the "Archangel Gabriel" without actually impressing them. Only when the "dictations" of the Archangel (presumably perceived by Muhammad as hallucinatory) took shape as "Suras" of the Quran did a group of convinced followers grow. But when Muhammad preached in Mecca, the crowd reacted with whistling and mockery.

In 619, after Khadidya's death, Muhammad married 14 women who had to wear a veil in public, which became the model for the Islamic veil customs of later times. He also married 6- or 7-year-old Aisha, whose dowry consisted of toys. According to Hadiths, the marriage was consummated when Aisha was 9.

622 Muhammad settled in Yathrib, where he had found many followers. The city was renamed "Medina" (medinat en-Nebi = City of the Prophet) and was the scene of Muhammad's first calls to jihad, to ´Holy war´, initially against the inhabitants of Mecca in the form of brutal attacks on Meccan caravans. 20 percent of the booty passed into Muhammad's personal possession. 624 the Meccans tried to defeat Muhammad´s army, lost however because of numerical inferiority and because Muhammad had ordered the poisoning - ignoring the unwritten ´desert law´ which prohibits such measures - of the wells on Meccan territory. One year later, Muhammad's army was defeated by the Meccans in the desert. Back in Medina Muhammad abandoned all scruples and killed every non-Jewish man who did not want to convert to Islam. The families left behind were sold as slaves.

In 627 all adult male Jews in Banu Qurayza were beheaded whereby the Prophet participated in the action. 630 Mecca surrendered to the supremacy of the Islamic army. Muhammad had all polytheistic icons destroyed and threatened every inhabitant who did not want to accept the Islamic faith with death. 632 he died in Medina shortly after instructing his subordinates to expel all unbelievers from Arabia.

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Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam, in its basic text and in important secondary texts, claims political rule over the entire human kind right from the start. The brutality of founder Muhammad is well documented. Some examples:

+ He financed his army and also personally enriched himself by ordering brutal attacks on caravans and surrounding tribes and selling the families of killed men who had refused to convert to Islam into slavery.

+ After the attack on the Jewish tribe of Khaibar, he extracted information from the chief of the tribe, Kinana, about his gold hiding place by torture, that is, by putting glowing coals on Kinana's chest until he finally betrayed the place.

+ After he had Kinana and his nephew beheaded, he raped the 17-year-old nephew's bride.

+ He used to have fleeing "unbelievers" cut off their hands and pierce their eyes and set them out in the desert.
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,524
USA
#2
If Mohammed hadn't turned violent or become intolerant, there wouldn't be an Islam today. Those characteristics have remained at the core of Islamic theology, and shaped Muslim behaviors ever since.
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,977
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#3
Christianity wasn't violent in its initial moments because it wasn't connected with power. As soon as it was connected with the Roman power things changed a lot.


Judaism was violent since the beginning: as soon as Moses [according to the Tradition] leaded the proto-Israelis to Canaan they fought for decades to conquer that land [promised, but with the clause that they had to fight to conquer it ...]. Judaism wasn't less aggressive than Islam with the difference that Judaism was limited [by G-d] to Canaan while Islam had no limits. It was a "no limit faith".
 
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Nov 2016
480
Germany
#4
The so-called abrogation principle of Islam is largely unknown in public discussion. This is a procedure used by Islamic scholars from the 8th century onwards to override the early, rather peaceful Quran verses from the Meccan period of Muhammad by the sole validity of the later warlike Quran verses from the Medinic period. The principle says that later verses replace the earlier ones, because - so the abrogationists - Muhammad had matured spiritually. So it is not enough that Islam apologists cite the Meccan verses in order to prove the alleged peacefulness of Islam, because these can be seen as ruled out by the warlike Medinic verses.

However, modern Muslim exegets tend to take the abrogation principle for outdated with regard to vers 9:5, the famous belligerent "sword verse" (ayat as-sayf), which is traditionally said to abrogate the alleged peaceful verse 2:256 ("no compulsion in religion", see below). This opinion seems to be only a defensive strategy (abrogation of the abrogation principle, so to speak) against the Western critizism of Islamic intolerance of other beliefs.

Anyway, the traditional principle of abrogation consists in resolving the contradiction between Quran verses in such a way, since the later verse nullifies and replaces the earlier one.

Osama bin Laden, for example, was very familiar with the principle of abrogation and was by this able to substantiate his radical ideas, i.e. ideas that appear to go back to the roots of Islam.

Now to Surah 2:256. First I cite a translation of the verse from an Islamic website.

There shall be no compulsion in the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

(taghut: here ´idols´, can also mean ´enemy of Muhammad´, see below)

Already the first sentence is a distortion (or at least interpretation) of the original Arabic text. There it says:

(La ik´raha fi I´dini)

No compulsion in the religion.

First, the translation of ´din´ as ´religion´ is usual in this verse, but not quite correct. ´Din´ means ´submission to Allah´, while ´madhhab´ is the correct word for ´religion/creed/faith´. You see that in translations of Quran texts a lot of deluding manipulation can be at work, what is also demonstrated by the cited translation of "No compulsion in religion" as "There shall be no compulsion in religion".

For what means "no compulsion"? The exact meaning of the phrase "No compulsion in the religion" is controversial among Islam exegets. Some exegets hold is that it is not meant that no one must be compelled to believe in Allah (as indicated by the cited verse), but that religion (submission to Allah) cannot be enforced, i.e. a sincere belief in ´Allah´ cannot be ordered by an authority or by sword, but must be inspired by´Allah´. This view is confirmed in Surah 10:99, where it says:

And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?

Furthermore, verse 2:256 aims only at non-Muslims. But what about Muslims? They of course are compelled to keep their belief, otherwise they are threatened with eternal pains in hell (Quran) or death penalty (Hadiths and Idshma).

Who still thinks that 2:256 has something like tolerance in mind should read the following verse 2:257:

Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. And those who disbelieve - their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.

(taghut = enemies of Muhammad)
 
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Oct 2012
3,279
Des Moines, Iowa
#5
The fact that Muhammad could conquer all of Arabia and spread his religion from such modest beginnings (as you have described, he had only a handful of followers when he began his military campaigns) is self-evident proof of the superiority of Muhammad as a leader of men, and of the superiority of Islam as a political-theological idea. Basically, if we are to accept the traditional narrative of Muhammad's life, we have no choice but to accept that Muhammad was the archetypical Übermensch - a Great Man who shapes the history of mankind through his own awesome will, and nothing more. This conclusion is doubly necessary if you are an atheistic materialist, because while a devout Muslim will credit Allah for the tremendous victories achieved by the Muslims over their enemies (they conquered everywhere from Spain to Tajikistan in a matter of decades), the atheistic materialist who disbelieves in God and who believes that Islam expanded through violence has no choice but to concede that the Muslims were superior men, and that Muhammad - the ultimate origin of the Islamic expansion - is the most superior man of all. Since this conclusion is unacceptable to many people, the only alternative is to uphold sklavenmoral and proclaim Muhammad to be "evil," for the weakling is indeed terrified that men like Muhammad exist, and could shape the world to such an extent through his own human will. Since virtually all Westerners, whether religious Christians or atheistic materialists, have the moral mindset of a slave (from whence arises the fascination with "human rights" and "equality" and the dogmatic conviction that these represent some universal truths), it is of no surprise that Muhammad will be seen as a villain, and doubly so because of his tremendous success that is surpassed by no other man in recorded history.
 
Nov 2016
480
Germany
#7
The fact that Muhammad could conquer all of Arabia and spread his religion from such modest beginnings (as you have described, he had only a handful of followers when he began his military campaigns) is self-evident proof of the superiority of Muhammad as a leader of men, and of the superiority of Islam as a political-theological idea.
Your reasoning is quite astonishing for me, since I never heard the argument that the quantity of followers of a religion is proof of the truth or value of it. i really don´t see a logical connection between such a quantity and spiritual truth. Could you make this point clearer? Besides, at present the number of Christian followers is about 2,3 billions, while the number of Muslims is about 1,6 billions. From this view, Muhammad is only second to Jesus (in case he was historical).

This conclusion is doubly necessary if you are an atheistic materialist, because while a devout Muslim will credit Allah for the tremendous victories achieved by the Muslims over their enemies (they conquered everywhere from Spain to Tajikistan in a matter of decades), the atheistic materialist who disbelieves in God and who believes that Islam expanded through violence has no choice but to concede that the Muslims were superior men, and that Muhammad - the ultimate origin of the Islamic expansion - is the most superior man of all.
Your Superman ideology comes from my neurotic fellow-countryman Nietzsche, who mocked the ´Sklavenmoral´ which opposes the belligerent ´Herrenmoral´. However, you know how Nietzsche finished his life - he became schizophrenic, torn between superhuman arrogance and compassion with the sufferings of living beings (e.g. the whipped horse in Turin).

No, I don´t think that quantity is proof of quality. If is was so, the Bible should be the best book in the world since it is the most sold. Yet you don´t accept the Bible as the best book, I´m sure.
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,524
USA
#8
The fact that Muhammad could conquer all of Arabia and spread his religion from such modest beginnings (as you have described, he had only a handful of followers when he began his military campaigns) is self-evident proof of the superiority of Muhammad as a leader of men, and of the superiority of Islam as a political-theological idea. Basically, if we are to accept the traditional narrative of Muhammad's life, we have no choice but to accept that Muhammad was the archetypical Übermensch - a Great Man who shapes the history of mankind through his own awesome will, and nothing more. This conclusion is doubly necessary if you are an atheistic materialist, because while a devout Muslim will credit Allah for the tremendous victories achieved by the Muslims over their enemies (they conquered everywhere from Spain to Tajikistan in a matter of decades), the atheistic materialist who disbelieves in God and who believes that Islam expanded through violence has no choice but to concede that the Muslims were superior men, and that Muhammad - the ultimate origin of the Islamic expansion - is the most superior man of all. Since this conclusion is unacceptable to many people, the only alternative is to uphold sklavenmoral and proclaim Muhammad to be "evil," for the weakling is indeed terrified that men like Muhammad exist, and could shape the world to such an extent through his own human will. Since virtually all Westerners, whether religious Christians or atheistic materialists, have the moral mindset of a slave (from whence arises the fascination with "human rights" and "equality" and the dogmatic conviction that these represent some universal truths), it is of no surprise that Muhammad will be seen as a villain, and doubly so because of his tremendous success that is surpassed by no other man in recorded history.
It depends on how one measures the "tremendous success" of Mohammed. His world lies marooned and infused with violence, and backwardness and unable to progress, all because of his uncompromising ideology. The entire Islamic world remains a burden on humanity. It is as though Mohammed had eternally condemned his followers to such a fate. So, how could he be a success by any reasonable measure?
 
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Nov 2016
480
Germany
#9
The entire Islamic world remains a burden on humanity. It is as though Mohammed had eternally condemned his followers to such a fate. So, how could he be a success by any reasonable measure?
I fear that "burden of humanity" is not seen as a forceful argument by Civfanatic, but rather as an indicator of ´Sklavenmoral´. He most likely will interprete bad conditions in Muslim countries as collateral damages on the way to the final victory of Islam.
 
Oct 2012
3,279
Des Moines, Iowa
#10
I am not saying that quantity = superiority in some kind of blind equation. Like Spengler I take a quasi-biological, evolutionary view of religions and civilizations. What is "good," from an evolutionary perspective, is that which ensures the long-term existence and self-replicating capacity of any given civilization or group of people, and religion is the "software" which makes sure that the "hardware" (the civilization) can function effectively to meet its collective goals. Many of the characteristics of Islam that modern liberals find odious, such as its tendency to mobilize and justify collective violence, its patriarchal social system and denial of egalitarianism, and its opposition to free speech and open disputation of its central ideas, are actually favorable traits from an evolutionary perspective. This is why all traditional civilizations feature these traits, not just Islamic civilization (the Romans, Indians, and Chinese were in many ways even more patriarchal and socially authoritarian than their Muslim counterparts). The only civilization which has gone against this current is the modern West since the Enlightenment, and the West will soon be devoured due to its liberalism and rejection of its own traditional past. However, this is going off-topic, and I have already discussed this elsewhere.

Coming back to the figure of Muhammad, I do not see what he did that was so "wrong." Muhammad, through his conquests and his diplomacy, forged a great and lasting civilization. Even today, after 1400 years, there are plenty of men who are willing to fight and die under the banner of Muhammad, which is itself a testament to the longevity and greatness of Islam as a ideological force (compared with something like Communism, for example, which dissipated almost into nothingness after only a few decades). That shows that Muhammad was a far greater man that someone like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, or Genghis Khan, whose names exist only in the pages of history books today, and that is precisely why Muhammad attracts so much more negative attention from certain types of people that the aforementioned conquerors.
 

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