Saturday, January 16, 2016

Islam - A religion of war - Whose your friend?

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.
To Muhammad, it was him against the world. He had been forced to flea Mecca for the safety of Medina and he still smarted over the indignity of being forced out and having to flea for his beliefs and the revelations he credited to God. Muhammad saw the world as composed of those who were on his side and who were willing to help him and fight for him and those who were against him and seeking his destruction. This conflict he transferred from himself to God. Writing in the Koran, Muhammad wrote that his followers, and all true believers, should not be friends with unbelievers and with those who had not supported the prophet in his way. God was angry with these people and we should be too.
"O believers, take not for friends [enter not into amity with] a people against whom God is wrathful [angered]" (Koran 60:13)
While it's true that the scriptures teach us that, "God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalms 7:11 KJV) it is an anger of indignation for their deeds and impending judgement upon all sin. It's also, however, and anger that is pure and without any hint of darkness or evil intent. God is angry with the wicked, but He also loves them. The scriptures teach us that "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." (John 3:16) This includes the wicked as well as the righteous. It also teaches us that, "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45) God's love extends not just to the faithful and the believers but to the wicked and evil as well. This anger and love together was something that Muhammad could not understand and his anger towards those who would not join him lead to many a war and many a slaughter.

It appears that, at least for some of those who had come over to Muhammad's side, they still had loyalties and love for to families and peoples they left behind. However, Muhammad clearly warns them that, if they persist in their love and friendship for them, they would be among those who were ungodly, those who would not be victorious, and those who would be judged by God.
"Thou seest many of them making unbelievers [infidels] their friends… Yet had they believed in God and the Prophet and what has been sent down [the Koran] to him, they would not have taken them as friends; but many of them are ungodly." (Koran 5:83-84)
"Your friend is only God, and His Messenger, and the believers who perform the prayer and pay the alms, and bow them down. Whoso makes God his friend, and His Messenger, and the believers -- the party of God, they are the victors." (Koran 5:60-61)
"O believers, take not the unbelievers [infidels] as friends instead of the believers; or do you desire to give God over you a clear authority [right to punish you]?" (Koran 4:143)
It is clear that Muhammad saw love and friendship in the context of war and battle. Your friends and loved ones were those you fought with and defended while everyone else was your enemy. Loving your enemy was weakness when it came to battle. How could one fight and destroy their enemy, and God's enemy, if they secretly harbored love towards them.
"O believers, take not My enemy and your enemy for friends, offering them love [shewing them kindness], though they have disbelieved in the truth that has come to you, expelling [driven forth] the Messenger [Apostle] and you because you believe in God your Lord. If you go forth to struggle [fight] in My way and seek My good pleasure [desire to please me], secretly loving them [shewing them kindness], yet I know very well what you conceal and what you publish [discover]; and whosoever of you does that, has [already] gone astray from the right [even] way." (Koran 60:1)
Islam was at war with unbelievers and infidels and there was no place for love, kindness, or pity towards those whom God had given over to destruction.

As with most things, this anger and prohibition of friendship with unbelievers, grew over time as Muhammad's fortunes and powers grew. Originally, this command of non-friendship was directly solely against those who had expelled the prophet from Mecca.
"God only forbids you as to those who have fought [warred with] you in religion's cause [on account of your religion], and expelled you [driven you forth] from your habitations [homes], and have supported in your expulsion, that you should take them for friends. And whosoever takes them for friends, those -- they are the evildoers." (Koran 60:9)
Later, Muhammad taught them that, even for other Muslims that had not yet joined them, there was no duty on their part to be their friends.
"Those who believe, and have emigrated [fled their homes] and struggled with their possessions [spent their sustenance] and their selves in the way of God, and those who have given refuge [taken in the prophet] and help [him] -- those are friends one of another. And those who believe, but have not emigrated -- you have no duty of friendship towards them till they emigrate [fly their country]; yet if they ask you for help, for religion's sake, it is your duty to help them, except against a people between whom and you there is a compact [treaty]; and God sees the things you do." (Koran 8:73)
Even though they may have been Muslims, those who had not come over to their side to aid them in the conflict had no demand upon their friendship. Only those who were willing to support them in their wars and battles had earned their friendship and, if afterwords they should turn back and leave their aid, they were to be summarily killed for turning back.
"They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them." (Koran 4:91)
There are two exceptions to this prohibition of friendship. One is if you fear them, fear they might be ability to overcome you, and the other is if they have already made a compact with those with whom you too have a compact of peace.
"Let not the believers take the unbelievers [infidels] for friends, rather than the believers -- for whoso does that belongs not to God [has nothing to hope from God] in anything -- unless you have a fear of them." (Koran 3:27)
"They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God… take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper except those that betake themselves to a people who are joined with you by a compact, or come to you with breasts constricted from fighting with you or fighting their people." (Koran 4:91)
In the one case you must honor your commitment to those whom you have made a commitment and not fight against those they have extended peace to, and the other you must simply wait until you are strong enough not to fear and to overtake them.

The Koran views relationships through the lenses or war and invites us to hate those whom God hates. However, the scriptures show us all of mankind through the eyes of a loving Father and reminds us that "God is love." (1 John 4:8) and that He loves all that He has made. Instead of hate, the scriptures invite us to love those whom God loves, and this would include all of mankind. How much greater in this world is love over hate!

More to come...
David Robison

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