Verse six (6) of The Cow says “As for those who disbelieve, it makes no difference whether you warn them or not: they will not believe. (7) God has sealed their hearts and their ears, and they eyes are covered. They will have great torment.” The warning to non believers continues through verse 29. It seems a large amount of time and words are spent rebuking and chastising non believers. I recognize the scoldings as being very similar to what I was taught from the Bible as a young boy going to a Christian church. What makes this different than the Bible is the volume of words used to warn non believers and the disdain for them. The negative consequences of being a non believer seems to be the focus as apposed to how true believers should live. Even when I randomly browse the Koran I almost always find myself reading negative warnings to non believers. Verse 30 speaks of Angels and will be my next post on the Cow.
“The Cow” is the second Sura (chapter) in the Qur’an (Koran) named after the story of the cow which the Israelites were ordered to slaughter. Of the 114 sura in the Qur’an 87 are classified as Meccan and were revealed at Mecca while 27 are Medinan and were revealed at Medina. The shortest surah (Al-Kawthar) has only three ayat (verses) while the longest (Al-Baqara) contains 286 ayat. The Cow is a Medinan sura and the longest in the Qur’an, containing information revealed over many years. The biggest surprise to me after reading this chapter was how much the Qur’an refers to the Jewish and Christian Religions. There appears to be a strong connection historically to Judaism and Christianity. It would not do this chapter justice to try and summarize it in one blog posting. I will work my way through “The Cow” and comment on what I feel are important discussion points. I am interested in the Theology of the Qur’an and the mandates or rules it demands of it’s followers. I also want to understand the God of the Qur’an and Muhammad’s character and mind set. These goals will direct all my studies of the Qur’an.
I started reading the second chapter of the Koran “The Cow” on a flight from Dallas to Miami. As I pulled the Koran out of my computer bag a strong sense of paranoia came over me. I looked around to make sure no one could see the title of the Islamic book I was about to read. I didn’t want some passenger or flight attendant to think I was a potential terrorist. Covering the title with my hand I bent the front and back cover over each other to reduce the book to a single reading page so the the front title page could not be seen. It suddenly occurred to me as I tried to hide my research project from my fellow passengers, that these same fears must fill every Muslim that desires to read their Koran in a public place. I felt empathy for all the innocent non radical Muslims that desired to seek their God but feared public knowledge of their efforts. This very poignant moment of religious fear that swept over me highlights an important truth about all religions. Most of us find it somewhat strange to see a person reading a holy book in a public place. It is out of the ordinary to see someone reading a Bible on a plane and even frightening to find a person reading the Koran. It makes many people uncomfortable to see a person reading the Bible. Our first thoughts are they must be a religions zealot or at the very least we suspect the Bible reader views us as a target to be proselytized. Most people don’t read the Cannons of their Religion and those who do, only spot or topically read as apposed to reading the whole book.
Muslims, Christians or any persons of faith have two fundamental parts of their belief system. The first is the personal intuitive longing or desire they have in their heart to know and understand God. Family tradition, country of origin and subjective pondering (prayer) are the basis for this inward belief system. This inward knowledge and belief system may or may not be supported by the written Cannons of their religion. The second fundamental part to all men’s religious belief system is the very precise outline and explanation for each religion found in the Holy Books or Cannons written for those religions. Most people of any faith follow their personal belief system of their religion despite the fact that they know very little and read very little from the Cannons or holy books of their religion. How many Christian have actually read the Bible cover to cover? How many Muslims actually study the Koran and read it in its entirety?
The important point to understand from the two fundamental parts of every Muslims belief system is that most Muslims may have non radical views of their religion but that does not mean the Koran espouses that non radical view. It may simply mean that most Muslims do not follow the Cannons of their Religion. Could it be that the small percentage who do follow the Koran instead of just their personal understanding of Islam are the ones that are radical because the Koran teaches a violent radical belief system? Seeking the answer to that question is the primary purposes of this blog. Does the Koran teach a violent radical Islam that only a small percentage follow because only a small percentage even read the Koran or does the Koran teach a more moderate religion of love and that is what the majority of Muslims follow? I hope our study of the Koran and Islam will give us the answer.
There is a popular Facebook quote that says “All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9-11″. A lawyer friend of mine wrote in response to this quote “This is like saying I learned all I needed to know about Christianity from the Crusades or the inquisition. We learned an object lesson in evil on 9-11 and little about Islam.” This argument goes to the very point of this post. Can we learn from Islam by the acts carried out in the name of Islam or is my Lawyer friend right saying that would be like defining Christianity by the Crusades or the inquisition. Do we define Religions and specifically Islam by the acts of its followers or by the Cannons that make up Islam? Do both define Islam? I submit that we must first go to the Koran and see how it tells Muslims to live their faith. After studying the Koran we should study the actions and lives of the followers of Islam and the Koran.
When Anderson Cooper asked Pastor Jones, if he had ever read the Koran in response to his planned Koran burning, Jones appeared shocked by the question and clearly understood his “no” answer negated the whole purpose of his Koran burning. Why would he burn a book he had never read. The same hypocritical logic follows those who defend the Koran. They defend Islam and the Koran but have never read it. This hypocrisy is pushed on the public daily by the press and politicians that defends Islam without truly knowing what Islam is all about. Day in and Day out I see news men and women in the name of tolerance demand we accept Islam. I would venture to say not one of them has read the Koran but they demand we be tolerant of a Religion that on first blush appears to demand Jihad from it followers. So what then is more important, blind tolerance for all religions despite what they might espouse or tempered acceptance of only those religions that have proven to want the common good of all mankind and are void of evil edicts. I submit that blind tolerance to all religions for the sake of tolerance is, by its very definition a system designed to accept and tolerate evil of any kind. It is a system that protects evil in the name of tolerance. Man was born with a Moral compass and if we put that compass away in the name of tolerance it makes us less humane at least and evil at worst.
Are the Radical Muslims that carry out Jihad and murder on a daily basis following edicts of the Koran or are they simply following their own personal belief system that in reality is contrary to the Koran? A far more frightening scenario is that the Radical Muslims are indeed following the Koran as to its purpose and message and all the other moderates are deceived thinking that they follow a religion of peace. The only way to find the answer is to read the Koran objectively in its entirety and then decide. If we find that the Koran does preach a Jihad like message should we continue to tolerate it as so many demand or should we declare it the very definition of intolerance?
Eight medical workers were gunned down by the Taliban last week in Afghanistan. One man was allowed to live. Why was this one man allowed to live when eight others were murdered in cold blood. You would think medical workers on a humanitarian mission to help Afghanistan people in need would stand a good chance of pleading their case to the Taliban. They spoke Farsi the language of their killers. It was their life mission to help those in Afghanistan with medical needs. The Taliban enforce one of the strictest interpretations of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world. Islam governs every decision of the Taliban. When the Taliban murdered Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York, they didn’t do it because of a language barrier. Mr Little spent 30 years working in Afghanistan and spoke fluent Dari. He would have no problem communicating with his attackers. My first reading of Fox news about this tragic event stated “The bullet-riddled bodies of five men, all Americans, and three women — an American, a German and a Briton — were found Friday in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, according to provincial police. Two Afghans were also killed in the attack, and one survived.”
The “one survived” is what caught my attention. What a lucky guy. “He must be some kind of Afghanistan Rambo”, I thought, as I imagined him running through the Afganistan mountains with a hunting knife in his mouth and and AK 47 in each hand. Then I read the true reason how this man escaped the murders. He told the police he recited verses from the Islamic holy book the Quran and told the attackers he was a Muslim. Wow! That explains it. It is all about Islam and murdering those who are non-believers. Just think how that would play out in America if there was a story about our soldiers stopping a group of suspected foreigner spy’s. One prays to “Our God” and quotes a few bible verses so he gets to live but the other 8 spy’s get shot dead on spot becasue they are from “that other religion”. What would the press think of this hypothetical? The press would crusify the religion and actions of such religious bigots, and offer no free pass like they have done for the Taliban. The bigger story in this tragic event is that it is all about Islam. The eight medical workers were killed in the name of Islam and the one worker escaped being murdered in the name of Islam.
I have discovered that there are indeed Koran Concordances. However they are not easily found at your local bookstore. I will order one online. In the mean time, I will use search engines to locate where certain topical words are found in the Koran. My first search was simply “Jihad and the Koran”. My goal was to locate the verses and actually find them in the Koran. The first chapter and verse I picked from my online search was K 9:005. It simply means Chapter 9 verse 5, just like the Bible’s numbering system.
K 9:005 ” When the forbidden months are over, wherever you encounter the idolaters, kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post; but if they turn (to God), maintain the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms, let them go on their way, for God is most forgiving and merciful.”
There are 164 Jihad verses in the Koran. (http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Themes/jihad_passages.html#Excerpts) After reading everyone of them I must admit there are some that make it very clear Jihad is required against all non believers. However there are many verses that seem more vague in purpose and context.
It is remarkably clear to me after this first topical search that Islam is a warrior religion. To be honest with you that warrior mentality stimulates my fighter instincts and emotions. I was shocked how I was drawn by the Kick Ass mentality of the verses. Only one problem, the reason for the kick ass mentality was because the other guy doesn’t believe in the religion of Islam. It would be easy to mix a recipe of Jihadist feelings in young men who grow up knowing nothing but the Koran, Islam and Jihad. Most young men have the kick ass warrior jean in them. Mix that with the Islam religion from birth and the Koran could very easily create young Jihadist with nothing to lose and seven virgins in heaven to gain. (the seven virgin thing will be another topical study).
Just imagine you are a young man growing up in what ever Muslim country. You are fed a steady diet of religion that encourages you to kick (kill) some ass and guarantees seven virgins in the after life. Then, your sages set before you perfect targets of non believers. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why millions of young Muslim men are more than willing to take out a few non believing Americans with suicide belts. You get your virgin girls, your a hero to all your family and friends, and you get the thrill of the hunt. I get it.
What does the Koran say about Jihad? I assume there must be clear direction in the Koran to carry out Jihad based on the number of times I hear about Jihad and its connection to Islam. I will start with googling the word “Jihad” and “Koran” together and see if I can locate verses with those words in them. I know the Christian Bible has concordances that can be used to look up specific words in the Bible. The Strong’s concordance comes to mind. It would be nice if there were concordances for the Koran, since it would be a powerful research tool. Concordance or no Concordance, I will get to the bottom of this thing called Jihad and its connection to Islam.