The Meaning of Life: Who Does Islam Say We Are? — Part II
In our investigation of the meaning of life, we ask: Who does Islam say we are? It’s the second biggest religion in the world, so the question is important.
So who does Muhammad say we should be? First, as followers of Muhammad, we are to revere and follow him. Muhammad is Allah’s greatest prophet. He is the example by which we are to lead our lives. Yet this same Muhammad said this in the Qur’an:
- Sura 9:73: “O Prophet! Struggle against the unbelievers and hypocrites and be harsh with them. Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them [captive], and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free.”
- Sura 5:51: “Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends.”
- Sura 5:17: “Infidels are those who declare: ‘God is the Christ, the son of Mary’.”
- Sura 5:73: “Infidels are those that say ‘God is one of three in a Trinity’.”
- Sura 9:123: “Make war on the infidels who dwell around you.”
- Sura 2:216: “Fighting is obligatory for you, as much as you dislike it.”
- Sura 8:65: “O Prophet! Urge the believers to war.”
- Sura 2:191: “Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them.”
- Sura 9:123: “Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”
- Sura 5:33: “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land.”
Remember from last time that the strong, Medina verses always supersede the weak, Meccan verses. The Qur’an itself is arranged by length of verse with strong and weak verses intermixed. (Note also that the Qur’ans published for western eyes have been sanitized. You will not find an accurate translation in an American book store. All the verses shown here are taken from a translation using the original Arabic and published in What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an, by William J. Federer) The strong verses preach war, robbery, murder. The weak verses preach peace and mercy. Thus, Islamic doctrine affirms evil over good.
What else are we to learn from Muhammad’s example? The Hadith Bukhari (Vol 5, Bk 58, N234; Vol 8 Bk 73, N151) tells us he married a six-year old, consummated the marriage when she was nine. Later, he took at least ten more wives, so many the other tribes censured him for it.
- Taught that it’s okay to lie and deceive unbelievers in Islam’s cause (Sura 3:28)
- Said to beat a rebellious wife (Sura 4:34) and flog a woman who is raped (Sura 24:2)
- Said the majority of inhabitants of Hell were women (Hadith Vol. 7, N. 125)
- Said “whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” (Hadith. Vol. 9, Bk 84)
- Permitted followers to rape infidel women captives and to rob caravans.
- Avenged insults, ordering Ibn Khatal and his slave girls to be killed for making fun of his poems.
- Had the chief of Khaybar tortured to get him to reveal the location of the tribe’s treasure.
Besides being a follower of Muhammad, what else are we if we are Muslim? We are god’s slaves. We cannot know Allah personally because Allah is aloof and distant. Allah bestows mercy only as he chooses, at his whim, so grace is a foreign concept. So we pray for mercy, but never know if we’ll get it. Our entry to heaven is based solely on our good deeds and the whim of Allah.
All Muslims must also ascribe to the five (or six) pillars of Islam:
- We affirm Allah as God and Muhammad as his messenger
- We pray five times a day
- We give 2.5% to the poor
- We fast during Ramadan
- We make a one-time pilgrimage to Mecca
- And we participate in jihad against the infidel
According to Islam, that is who we must be.
Now we are compelled to ask: Where is the man made in God’s image? Where in all this are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Where are mercy, peace, love, justice, kindness, gentleness—even joy? Where in Islamic teaching is honor, purity, truth, and love for our fellow men? Indeed, where is God himself?
Next time we’ll look at who we are according to today’s society and the world around us.