Conversion by the Sword

Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend?

Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend?

Many schools of thought exist about Conversion by the Sword. One is that Islam did not spread by war, but by commerce. Conversion to Islam in most cases was voluntary. But when expansion bumped up against Pagan and Christian Societies, conquest by the sword did occur as a defense. And offense is the best defense.

The other school of thought is that Islamist always spread their religion as Conversion by the Sword. History, unfortunately doesn’t decide the question. So I will present both arguments.

Before the attack on Mecca, the Quran had already been written. Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” Islams early enemies were defending their own religion. So the belief, Allah approves of war for defense, not offense, comes to question. What then do you do if you win? Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Certainly direct, particularly when combined with other passages in the Quran and practice through the ages.

Read this carefully against what we see happening today with ISIS or ISIL, the latter name even more fearful as I will explain in Question #2. If your enemy does not convert to Islam you fight them to the death. Pagan polytheists are given no mercy. The People of the Book, Jews and Christians, if they do not convert, can willingly pay tribute to the Islam. There are.extra laws they must obey and are considered second-class citizens. Sound familiar.

The counter argument is that Muslim Caliphates wished to dominate, not convert. This maybe true, however the rate of converts over time grew Islam to become The Religion wherever they conquered. However, what started as a Arabic Empire, soon turned into an Islāmic Empire, as the Turks, descendants of the Assyrians and the Hittites, and the Persians converted to Islam. Then they bumped up against Christian Nations. The Battle of Tours in 732 and The Battle of Vienna in 1683, stemmed the advance of Islam.

If you think the choice of September 11th, or 911, was a coincidence, think again. On September 11, 1683, the combined armies of Europe defeated the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna. So on September 11, 2001, Islam sent us a signal. They are back. Or at least the radical If you study the Battle of Vienna, you will find Hungary as an ally of the Ottoman Empire for territorial purposes, so this was not solely a religious war.

Over 1300 years, Islam spread throughout the Middle East and Persia, throughout Northern Africa, and in to Mesopotamia to countries like Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria and others. Now to answer three questions I received.

First, What is Jihad?

In the Quran, jihad is commonly followed by the expression fi sabil illah, “in the path of God.” As without religious connotation, like the English word “crusade” (as in “a crusade against drunk drivers”). Jihad has two meanings: an inner spiritual struggle within oneself and an outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. The latter may take a violent or non-violent form. The concept of Jihad will always include the fight against unbelievers and wrongdoers.

Second, What is the difference between ISIS and ISIL?

ISIS means The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria where Sunni militants are craving out a Caliphate. ISIL means The Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant. The Levant today consists of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. This title reflects the ambition of this group to include Israel in its conquest.

Third, Why are there no statues or pictures in a Mosque? 

There are no pictures or statues of Allah or prophet Muhammad in a Mosque, because Muslims do not worship any images or statues. Muslims only worship God who has no image or statues. So idol worship is forbidden. You can’t paint the face of god. There are no chairs either, because worship is done standing or kneeling.

In my next post, I will cover the conflict surrounding the Palestinians and Israel. What is all the fess about?

Islam – A Study in Conflict

Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend?

Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend?

Due to a number of questions I’ve received regarding the Muslim faith, Islam, and all the related factions we hear about in the news. I decided to spend some time blogging about the differences in the names, the aims, and the facts behind them. Islam is a study in conflict from the inception of the religion. The factions within it have fought each other for centuries and threaten the world order more than once.

So what is the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?or Shia Muslim? Who is Al Qaeda, ISIS or ISIL, The Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, The Alawites, The PLO, and Fatah. I maintain if the government understood the differences, we wouldn’t be making the mistakes we are in the Middle East and the Persian countries today.

I’ll cover the factions in play in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Gaza, and the West Bank. I guarantee the Muslims know much more about Christianity than we know about them. A fun ride? Yes!

So for the first issue, Sunni versus Shia Muslims

Where do they live?

Shia are the majority in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, and Lebanon. They number close to 300 million and can be found in all Muslim countries. Sunni are the majority in all others Muslim nations and number over 1.2 billion.

Why are they at odds with one another?

After the death of Muhammad, a split occurred over a successor to the Prophet, much like who would be the true Pope in Catholicism. The Shia believe a cousin of Muhammad was appointed to succeed the Prophet. They believe the revelation of the Prophet continues through the 12 Imams descending from Muhammad, the Twelfth of which is to reveal himself in the last days, and Jesus, called Isa, will come back confirming what the Twelfth Imam says.

The Sunni reject this notion and believe Divine revelation ended after the fourth Caliph, Ali bin Abi Talib. The end of his Caliphate divided Muslim unity. Shia looked to the Imams whose lineage comes from Ali and Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter, and Sunni do not. Other differences include the adoption of the muta, or temporary wife, by Shia Muslims. Where Sunni reject the concept.

Further, Sunni believe the al Mahdi will become a Caliph in the last days. He will destroy the Jews, and Jesus will come with him to destroy the Antichrist. But this al Mahdi will not necessarily be a direct descendant of Muhammad. Shia give more power to al Mahdi. He is the Twelfth Imam who will do what the Sunni’s believe and more, killing the Antichrist and even Satan, as some Shia sects believe. Before Christians criticize this, and I am a Christian, we believe at the end of the world Christ will come back and destroy Antichrist and the armies at Armageddon and rule the world from Jerusalem. There is a common end-time thread, but the players are radically different.

You can see why ISIS is attempting to establish a Caliphate. ISIS is Sunni. You can understand why countries like Iran and Iraq are led by Imams. They wait for the hidden one. The Twelfth Imam, al-Mahdi who will convert the world to Islam. Both Sunni Isis and Shia Iran wish to maintain a government led by Sharia Law, as do the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I will let the information speak for itself and give you the next piece of the puzzle tomorrow. What is the history of Islam and Jihad?