This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first 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.Islam is a religion that justifies aggression, retaliation, and vengeance towards those who have wronged us. Many sources have sighted that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in US prisons. I believe this is the case, in part, because Islam is a religion that allows you to keep your anger and justifies your hatred and aggression towards others as a righteous act pleasing and permitted by God. I further believe that it is this same anger and hatred that fuels much of the conflict and terror perpetrated by Muslims around the world today.
The Koran establishes retaliation as a normal part of life for Muslims
"In [this law of] retaliation there is [security for] life for you, men possessed of minds [men of understanding]; haply you will be godfearing." (Koran 2:175)Muhammad's understanding of the world was that, unless one stands up for themselves, they will be defeated, marginalized, or repressed. It is only by fighting back that one will obtain what life has for them. It is only by fighting back that they will come into their own. However, this stands in contrast to many of the great men of the scriptures. Consider David who, when presented with a chance to slay King Saul who was then attempting to kill him, he relented and did not take vengeance into his own hands.
"The men of David said to him, 'Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, "Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you..."' So he said to his men, 'Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed.'" (1 Samuel 24:4-6)The Koran does allow for one to forgive another for a transgression, but this forgiveness is short lived and often conditional.
"O believers, prescribed for you is retaliation, touching the slain; freeman for freeman, slave for slave, female for female. But if aught is pardoned a man by his brother, let the pursuing be honourable, and let the payment be with kindliness. That is a lightening granted you by your Lord, and a mercy; and for him who commits aggression after that -- for him there awaits a painful chastisement." (Koran 2:174)
"If two parties of the believers [bodies of the faithful] fight [are at war], put things right [make peace] between them; then, if one of them is insolent against [wrong] the other, fight the insolent one [against that party which doth the wrong] till it reverts [comes back] to God's commandment [the precepts of God]." (Koran 49:9)This is quite a change from Jesus' teaching on forgiveness. When Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive his brother, even up to seven times a day, Jesus responded,
"I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:22)In Islam, retaliation is the provision of God for the redress of grievances and wrongs done. Wrongs are not adjudicated in court but settled directly between the parties involved even if it means resorting to violence.
"The holy month for the holy month; holy things demand retaliation. Whoso commits aggression against you, do you commit aggression against him like as he has committed against you, and fear you God, and know that God is with the godfearing." (Koran 2:190)
"Leave [a sanction] is given to those who fight [have taken up arms] because they were wronged [suffered outrage] -- surely God is able to help them -- who were expelled from their habitations [homes] without right [wrongfully], except that they say 'Our Lord is God.'" (Koran 22:40)However, this stands in direct contrast to Jesus' words when He said,
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also... You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:38-40, 43-45)Jesus does not call us to get even with our enemies but to love them and to show them kindness for, even God, shows kindness to the evil and hateful. However, Muhammad saw things differently. Instead of seeing a new commandment that we love each other, he sought to perpetuate the old commandment that we exact an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. In this he was not confirming what had been handed down from God before but contradicting the very will and word of God which He has spoken.
Instead of teaching peace, Muhammad's taught hurt people to hurt people back in the same way they themselves were hurt.
"All that; and whosoever chastises [makes exacting reprisals] after the manner that he was chastised [for injury done to him] and then again is oppressed [wronged], assuredly God will help him; surely God is All-pardoning, All-forgiving." (Koran 22:59)
"and who, when insolence visits [a wrong is done to] them, do help [redress] themselves – and the recompense of evil is evil the like of it [be only a like evil]." (Koran 42:38)However, Paul clearly taught us,
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)The teachings of Muhammad are as far askew from the teachings of God as darkness is from light. In teaching us these things he was not teaching us the recitations of God but the anger of his own heart. What we hear in the Koran are not the suras of a loving God who loves everyone, even sinners, but the dark heart of an angry man bent on hurting those who had hurt him.
More to come...