Thursday, January 21, 2016

Islam - A religion of war - Encouragement to fight

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The fight is prescribed to Muslims. Muslims are called to war. Repeatedly they are called by the Koran to engage in a struggle with unbelievers and to take the fight to them; to slay them and to cleanse their faith from the Earth.
"And fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally [in al] and know that God is with the godfearing." (Koran 9:36)
"When you meet [encounter] the unbelievers [infidels], smite their necks [strike off their heads], then [till], when you have made wide [great] slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds [make fast the fetters]." (Koran 47:4)
Their fight is not towards some honorable or negotiated peace, it is a fight to eliminate the unbeliever from the Earth. It is a fight, not just to win, but to procure the slaughter of the infidels and the supremacy of Islam.
"It is not for any Prophet to have prisoners until he make wide slaughter in the land." (Koran 8:68)
However, such a war, such a slaughter, is a hard and distasteful business. It can be hard, even for the faithful, to remain firm to the end; firm until they have not only defeated them but have killed them.
"If they withdraw not from you, and offer you peace, and restrain their hands, take [seize] them, and slay them wherever you come on them; against them We have given you a clear authority [undoubted power]." (Koran 4:92)
"O believers, when you encounter the unbelievers marching to battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso turns his back that day to them, unless withdrawing to fight again or removing to join another host, he is laden with the burden of God's anger, and his refuge is Gehenna -- an evil homecoming!" (Koran 8:15-16)
"Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take [seize] them, and confine [besiege] them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent [convert], and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate." (Koran 9:5)
Their goal is not peace but annihilation. When it is in their power to do so, they are not to offer peace but to press towards total and final victory.
"So do not faint [be not fainthearted] and call for peace [invite the infidels to peace]; [when] you shall be [have] the upper ones [hand], and God is with you, and will not deprive you of your works." (Koran 47:37)
To this end, the prophets and the Koran are given to encourage them in the fight; to strengthen them to complete what they've been called to; to keep their hands firm in the fight and their minds committed to the cause.
"O Prophet, urge on [stir up] the believers to fight. If there be twenty of you, patient men, they will overcome two hundred; if there be a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand unbelievers, for they are a people who understand not." (Koran 8:66)
"So obey not the unbelievers [Give not way therefore to the infidels], but [by means of this Koran] struggle with them thereby mightily [strive against them with a mighty strife]." (Koran 25:54)
The prophet is to remind them to often make mention of God's name as it will encourage them and to know that, even if they are suffering in battle, it will be worse for the enemy.
"O believers, whensoever you encounter a host [troop], then stand firm, and remember [make mention of the name of] God frequently; haply so you will prosper. And obey God, and His Messenger, and do not quarrel together, and so lose heart, and your power [success] depart; and be patient; surely God is with the patient." (Koran 8:47-49)
"Faint not in seeking the heathen [slacken not in pursuit of the foe]; if you are suffering, they are also suffering as you are suffering, and you are hoping from God for that for which they cannot hope" (Koran 4:105)
As Christians, we too have our words of encouragement, but it's not the encouragement towards warfare, but towards "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) Paul tells us to, "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10-11) Our preparation is not to fight but to stand firm and our fight is not against people but against the spiritual forces are war with us. Further Paul tells us to, "not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (Galatians 6:9-10) It's not for battle that our hearts need strengthening but for doing good to all people, especially the believers but also the infidels. Finally, he remind us "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8) Certainly, war does not qualify as being among those things that are lovely, right, and pure.

Yes, there are times that nations must go to war and, in that time, each one must make up our own mind as to if and how we will participate in our nation's call to arms, but as Christians we are call to a much higher and more noble cause; the cause of love and peace.

More to come...
David Robison

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