9 Haziran 2016 Perşembe

The Misunderstood Islam

Kuran okuyan kız
“Adopt my faith, or die!” That is the slogan of the fanatics. There is no such concept as democracy, freedom of ideas, love, respect, affection, friendship or altruism in fanaticism. People imagine that fanaticism, and its offshoot radicalism, can settle inside a true faith. Yet fanaticism is itself a religion; there are representatives of the religion of fanaticism inside every idea. There are fanatical believers in Islam, in Judaism and in Christianity, just as there are in Marxism, fascism and atheism. They all espouse the same faith; “I don't like your ideas! Either go along with my ideas, or die!”
In recent times in particular, this fanaticism has largely wound up being equated with Islam. Indeed, certain groups call this religion of fanaticism Islam and they have turned their fears of fanaticism toward Islam, so much so that Islam, an Abrahamic faith, has come to stand for “fear.” Islamophobia is talked about all over the world. People are unaware that their fears stem, not from Islam, but from fanaticism. They fail to see that the fanatical faith produced by peddlers of superstition has appeared in the name of Islam; nobody has ever told them that this is not Islam. Neither the radicals who emerge in the name of Islam nor the Islamophobes who fear those radicals have been shown that Islam is not this fanatical, terrifying, loveless and hate-filled faith. The radicals of Islam have begun harming the entire world, but Muslims most of all.
One of the main causes of Islamophobia is radicalism. Those who imagine that radicalism is Islam are in fact making the gravest error by opposing Islam and are fighting against the only possible solution to radicalism.
The phrase “moderate Islam” was born out of that need. As if there were such things as a savage Islam on one hand and a moderate model of Islam on the other, Muslims opposed to the savagery of the radicals began being referred to as “moderate Muslims.” Voices opposed to Islam admired the advocates of moderate Islam, but regarded them as weak in the face of the radicals. They imagined that some peace-loving people were trying to soften a savage religion (surely Islam is above that). They even called this “reform in Islam,” and referred to the advocates of moderate Islam as “reformists.” However nobody has managed to show that this is not a reform, but is in fact the real Islam. Although the opponents of Islam admire the “reformists,” the false strength stemming from radical violence and the idea that they represent the real Islam predominated.
Peace-loving Muslims are not trying to soften, reform or moderate Islam. Our aim as peaceable Muslims is to try to eliminate a falsehood that has been propagated under the name of Islam for many years. It is to eliminate the radicalism, fanaticism and bigotry displayed for years under the name of Islam and to eradicate that nonsensical faith that has nothing to do with the true Islam, and to describe the truth of Islam with evidence from the Qur’an. It is to put an end to the worst defamation of Islam being done by the fanatics.
This book responds to the claims made by certain Western opponents of Islam who have actually come to prominence through their criticism of radicalism, and to the terrifying way of thinking of the fanatics. It reveals the sources of the false, fanatical religion which they are trying to make part of Islam, and discusses the invalidity of that religion with examples from the Qur’an. The particular reason for producing a work responding to these claims is that all the criticisms made of Islam take the same direction and that people confuse the religion of radicalism with the true Islam. The objective, therefore, is to provide those people who are wrongly acquainted with the true Islam due to the accusations made against it, with evidence from the Qur’an rebutting those claims.
The fanatics’ problem is that they learn their faith from specious superstition. However, those who criticize those fanatics are sometimes just as radical as them and defend that superstition just as passionately. The more we produce evidence from the Qur’an, the more they try to produce their own from the superstition the fanatics subscribe to. That is where they make their gravest mistake. If they want to know the true Islam and find a solution to fanaticism, they must heed the true faith described here. Unless they do that, radicalism will continue to plague the world. 
The problem with fanatics is that they learn their religion from nonsense. When nonsense represents its source, it is easy for terror in the name of religion to spread. The only solution is the original faith in the Qur'an.

Chapter 1:
The Two Basic Concepts Misused by Those Who Portray Islam as a Violent Faith: Sharia and Jihad

kenar süsü
God describes the Qur’an as follows in one verse:
... This [the Qur’an] is not a narration which has been invented but confirmation of all that came before, a clarification of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for people who have faith. . (Qur'an, 12:111)
As God explicitly states in this verse, the Qur’an is “a clarification of everything,” although it is never enough for the peddlers of superstition. They do not regard the path revealed by the Qur’an as suited to their own religious conceptions. For that reason, throughout the course of history they have maintained that some of the commandments of the Qur’an are “not sufficient” (surely the Qur’an is beyond that) and need to be interpreted. From that, they developed the idea that “We can only understand the Qur’an through the hadiths*.” *Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Let us make one thing clear here; the hadiths have come down to the present day as the words of our Prophet (pbuh). While some are entirely trustworthy and accurate quotations and practices, others have gradually been distorted and the meanings of some have been changed. There is only one way of telling whether a hadith is really the words or the practice of our Prophet (pbuh) and that is if it is in agreement with the Qur’an. It is without doubt a slander against our Prophet (pbuh) to maintain that words or practices that conflict with the Qur’an actually belong to the Prophet (pbuh) because our Prophet abided by the Qur’an alone.
The idea that “We can only understand the Qur’an through the hadiths” has of course wrought enormous harm on the Islamic world because some Muslims thinking along those lines began to fabricate hadiths in the name of the faith. They even eventually abandoned the Qur’an altogether, taking those hadiths alone as the source of their religion. When fabricated hadiths conflicted with the Qur’an, they had the effrontery to say, “This hadith overrules the commandment of the Qur’an.” Hundreds of fabricated hadiths gave rise to different faiths, and the result was four schools that disagreed with one another on many areas within Islam. They all called themselves Muslims, but they all espoused something very different. They even thought that the others had abandoned the faith entirely.
Our Prophet (pbuh) complains to Almighty God of the state into which the Islamic world has fallen as follows in the Qur’an:
The Messenger says, “My Lord, my people treat this Qur’an as something to be ignored.” (Qur'an, 25:30)
The problem with much of the Islamic world today is that it has abandoned the Qur'an. Every pronouncement by people described as “leaders of the faith” has been adopted as a rule, and so every religious community has its own different practices.
Indeed, the problem of a large part of the Islamic world today is that people regard the Qur’an as a book that has been abandoned.
Once the Qur’an had been abandoned, it was time for “ijma.” (Ijma: Eminent religious figures living at any time producing commandments regarding Sharia law on the basis of deductive analogy). Since the Qur’an was no longer their guide and since they were smothered by thousands of fabricated hadiths, making it impossible to find their way out of the maze, they finally decided that neither the Qur’an nor the hadiths could properly explain the commandments, and “religious leaders” began producing laws in the name of Islam. The schools began clashing with one another, and the agreements of the Muslim communities came into conflict with those of other schools. Every “religious leader’s” own interpretation was regarded as law, each community based itself on a different set of practices and the whole community of Islam began splitting up into sects, classes and finally tiny groups. The Qur’an, however, was left as a decorative item hung up on the wall, still inside its casing. A large part of the Islamic world had “abandoned and ignored the Qur’an.”
Looking at some of the opponents of Islam we see that their problem is quite ironically the same as that of the peddlers of superstition: They do not learn about Islam from the Qur’an. Just like the peddlers of superstition, they concentrate on fabricated hadiths, traditions and interpretations of Islam by religious leaders that are generally incompatible with the Qur’an. In their eyes, Islam is the lifestyle and practices of the peddlers of superstition. In their eyes, Islam is the imaginative power of historians, not the faith as revealed in the Qur’an. They call the laws of this fabricated religion “Sharia,” not the laws of the Qur’an. They are unaware of the values, concepts and practices imparted in the Qur’an, but have a great knowledge of all the rules of the false religion of the peddlers of superstition. In criticizing the rules of that false religion, they imagine they are criticizing Islam. So attached are they to the religion of the peddlers of superstition that they do not believe it when they are told, “This is not Islam.”
They must believe this if they are not opposed to Islam owing to an ideological religious opposition and if they genuinely seek a solution to the darkness of the fanatic mindset. Their religion is not Islam. The Qur’an by itself is sufficient for a Muslim. Hadiths are true and reliable so long as they are compatible with the Qur’an. A hadith that is incompatible with the Qur’an has no place in Islam. If a Muslim cannot find Islam in the Qur’an, it means he is looking for another religion and the Sharia of that faith is not Islam.

The true Sharia in the Qur’an

The word Sharia means “path.” A Muslim can easily tell what “path” to follow by looking at the Qur’an. Few things are unlawful in the Qur’an, and these are made clear with explicit prohibitions. They are not open to discussion or interpretation. For example, killing, adultery, earning interest, eating pork or drinking blood are all unlawful actions revealed in verses of the Qur’an in definitive terms. This is one important characteristic of the Qur’an. People who aim to come up with prohibitions by interpreting verses in the light of their own desires always try to produce their deductions from them. Yet prohibitions are not open to interpretation. God expresses and prohibits these with definitive pronouncements, as in this verse:
He has only forbidden you carrion, blood and pork and what has been consecrated to other than God. (Qur'an, 2:173)
God reveals in the Qur’an that there will be people who fabricate what is lawful or prohibited in the name of Islam:
Do not say about what your lying tongues describe: “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” inventing lies against God. Those who invent lies against God are not successful. (Qur'an, 16: 116)
Following the time of our Prophet (pbuh), numerous communities emerged who invented lies against God. Since these communities did not take the Qur’an as their guide, they could call whatever they wished to be lawful or unlawful.
However, there are some communities whose characteristics God particularly emphasizes: “They make unlawful the good things made lawful.” Our Lord says:
You who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things God has made lawful for you, and do not overstep the limits. God does not love people who overstep the limits. (Qur'an, 5:87)
In examining the system of savagery applied under the name of Sharia which is completely incompatible with Islam, we shall be speaking of communities that make lawful things unlawful for themselves and that are totally distanced from the Qur’an.
Let us first define the true Sharia, the true path of the Qur’an in other words, as set out in verses:
The Sharia of the Qur’an means love, respect, and affection and protection toward people of all faiths and opinions. The Sharia of the Qur’an insists on democracy, and freedom of ideas prevails. Under the Sharia of the Qur’an, people are knowledgeable, educated, open-minded, respectful of other ideas, happy, outward-looking, modern, high quality, optimistic, value art and science and value love and friendship. There is no hatred, intolerance, conflict, fighting, despotism, imposition, threatening, unhappiness or anger in the Sharia of the Qur’an. We shall be expanding on all these definitions associated with the Qur’an with evidence from verses in later sections of this book.
Kuran'daki şeriat
The Sharia of the Qur'an requires that a Muslim be modern, well-groomed, noble, wise, cultured, democratic, open-minded, respectful of all ideas and full of love. The Sharia of the Qur'an is based on brotherhood, peace and love. War, cruelty, hatred, anger and conflict are all forbidden to Muslims in the Qur'an. Those who wish to know the true Sharia must look to the Qur'an alone.
Is there an Islamic country in the world today that meets these definitions of the Sharia of the Qur’an? Of course not; this Sharia has not been applied since the time of our Prophet (pbuh). The countries that say they are governed under Sharia law apply the Sharia of a fanatical faith that various violent groups impose in the name of Islam. They adopt various untrue hadiths as their guides, but abandon the Qur’an.
We shall be seeing in subsequent chapters where those groups that claim to be applying Sharia but actually spread rage and hatred draw that conception of Sharia from. We shall be looking one by one and seeing the invalidity of all the false hadiths they adopt as their guides. We shall be seeing with full supporting evidence how far removed this Sharia is from the Qur’an, and how it can never be described as Islamic Sharia at all.

What does the true Qur’anic Sharia bring to a country?

If there really were a country that applied the true Sharia of Islam, then it would be highly developed in terms of art and science, would have a high level of education and standard of living, would be high quality, peaceful, loving and in favor of unification with all the peoples of the world. It would be in the vanguard of peace and a model of love; it would embrace Jews, Christians and atheists, it would regard people of all ideologies as friends and would respect them all, would assume the mission of bringing tranquility and calm to the world, would think of those in need before itself and would find solutions to them. It would be loving and happy. In addition to being very high quality, the people of that country would also have an ultra modern and ultra democratic life style. All opinions could be freely expressed, but without any aggression, insults, intolerance or violence. Goods would not be piled up and accumulated. A Qur’anic life style based on protecting the poor and “putting others before oneself” would prevail. There wouldn't be any poor people. Such a system would be one in which all the people in the world could live happily and that all the countries in the world would be delighted with.
If we compare that description with countries that go by the name of “Islamic Republic,” a vast difference is immediately apparent. The system currently being applied under the name of Sharia is most definitely not the Sharia of Islam. In order for people to be able to live by the Sharia of Islam, that religion would have to be purged of all its superstition and would have to meet all the descriptions praised in the Qur’an and cited above.
In order for that to happen, it is essential for the head of state of a country governed under Islam to act in full compliance with the Qur’an, not with superstition. A Muslim leader who abides by the Qur’an will have three major characteristics: he or she will be affectionate, democratic and just. Due to those characteristics, such a leader will always be reliable. People who live under the protection of a Muslim leader who fully abides by the moral values of the Qur’an will enjoy the most perfect liberty, of a kind that has never been seen before. No Islamic obligations will be imposed on anyone. Everyone will behave in the light of his own beliefs. Everyone will enjoy the right to speak his mind. No priority will be given to anyone. Everyone will be treated equally. Justice will be administered equally for all. People will still abide by the verse, “You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives (Surat an-Nisa’, 135) even if that sometimes works against Muslims.
A Muslim leader will always strive and desire to establish love. Because the reason for the revelation of religions, the reason for human existence and the reason for the creation of paradise is love. Conflict will be meaningless in a society in which love prevails, in which nobody’s freedoms are restricted and in which everyone is treated equally in a state of plenty. Climates of conflict will also disappear when injustice, lovelessness and enmities are eradicated.
Therefore, in order to understand Sharia, we need to look to the Qur’an, not at the practices of countries who claim to be applying the Sharia of Islam. Islam came with the Qur’an. Therefore, the only Islamic Sharia is in the Qur’an, and it is very clear. It is impossible for a country that does not apply the systems of justice, democracy and liberty in the Qur’an to be a role model on the subject of Sharia. It would therefore be wrong for anyone to suggest, “But this is how it is applied in this country, so Islam will bring savagery with it.” The system that needs to be accused here is the false one applied in the name of Islam by the leaders of that country. It is not the system in the Qur’an. (Surely the Qur’an is beyond that.)
The failure to apply the true system of the Sharia in the Qur’an, which would bring with it the delights cited above, and savagery being misrepresented as the Sharia of the Qur’an is of course a very terrible thing: Blaming Islam is not the answer, however. Those who blame Islam do grave harm by trying to eliminate it as the sole answer to radicalism, violence and savagery. They are actually smoothing the radicals’ path by striving to weaken Islam. It is not their accusations or the weapons they manufacture that will eliminate radicalism and the false beliefs propagated under the name of Islam. The only way is the conception of the true Islam. There is a problem of a false belief here. And false beliefs can only be done away with by replacing them with true ones.

The true jihad in the Qur’an

“Waging jihad” in Islam means to educate the other side, to teach moral virtue and to strive to turn people away from evil. Those who murder in the name of jihad are not acting in the light of the Qur'an.
The word jihad comes from the Arabic word “jahd.” Its meanings are 1) To work, to strive, to exhibit determination and persistence or self-sacrifice and 2) To control one’s lower self. On the basis of these definitions, waging jihad in Islam means to inform the other side, to teach people proper moral values and to turn them away from evil. In doing this, a Muslim must train his own lower self in the direction of moral virtue and train himself to be someone far removed from rage and hatred. In other words, what a Muslim engaged in jihad must do is to train himself on the one hand, and strive to teach people truth and goodness on the other. He must be a role model with his own moral values in order to spread love, peace and affection and to turn people away from evil.
The word “jahd” is never employed in any other sense in the Qur’an. Those who perpetrate slaughter under the name of “jihad” saying “Our point of reference is the Qur’an” are either lying or misinformed.
In the eyes of the Qur’an, those who are now slaughtering people in the name of jihad, taking their own lives as suicide bombers or inciting war are committing a grave sin, yet the great majority of these people are not even aware that they are contravening the Qur’an. That is because they have been led astray in the name of religion. They have their own faith in which there is hatred instead of love, rage instead of affection, enmity instead of brotherhood, horror instead of beauty and ignorance instead of art, science and culture. It is frighteningly simple to put a gun in the hands of someone who believes in such a faith and it is all too easy to tell them “This community is your enemy so go and attack it.” It is quite easy to incite them and shockingly easy to build communities of rage.
The false hadiths these people cite as supposed justification for aggression, and the verses of the Qur’an they misinterpret in the name of war, will be set out in detail in later chapters. There is one important point that needs to be remembered here; the great majority of radicals spread violence out of ignorance. They do not know the true faith. Most of them have likely never even read the Qur’an. That is why it is no use to condemn, curse, threaten, imprison or exile someone who kills under the misapprehension he is waging jihad. His problem is that he has not been educated with the Qur’an and has not understood the law of God. Since that is the problem, we have to accept the fact that so long as false education persists, there will also be radicals who are ignorant of what they do. If we realize that this is the problem, we can also grasp the fact that the only thing that those who spread violence and terror under the name of jihad need is true education.

What is Misunderstood about War in Islam

A Muslim has a responsibility to believe in every verse of the Qur’an, without exception

Kurani Kerim
The reason for this heading appearing here is to show the false nature of claims made by fanatics who seek to add superstition to Islam and some opponents of Islam, who in turn misuse the unpleasant ideas of those fanatics that some verses of the Qur’an are no longer valid. They cite this verse as supposed evidence for their claims:
Whenever We abrogate an ayat or cause it to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or equal to it. Do you not know that God has power over all things? (Qur'an, 2:106)
The peddlers of superstition who twist their tongues against the Qur’an have misinterpreted this verse as evidence to allow them to impose their own superstition as the faith instead of the Qur’an. They have unwisely imagined that by misinterpreting this verse, they can invalidate some verses and even replace them with superstition of their own invention. Some opponents of Islam, on the other hand, maintain that there are verses about the use of intoxicants or war that no longer apply and seek to divide Muslims into those who abide by that and those who do not.
The true interpretation of this verse that the people in question seek to cite as evidence for their own utterly perverse way of thinking is as follows; the Arabic word “ayat” in the term “Whenever We abrogate an ayat” is singular. The word ayat also means sign or miracle, as well as verse, but the word “ayat” used to refer to the verses of the Qur’an never appears in singular form. When it appears in the singular, the word “ayat” always means evidence or sign, and that is how it is translated in all other verses.
The meaning here is therefore not “verses of the Qur’an” but “signs, rules and Sharia” that went before it. According to this verse, therefore, if some practices and commandments applied by previous communities to whom Divine books were sent down, that is, Jews and Christians, were forgotten in time, these have either been recalled or else abrogated by the Qur’an. A similar or better version has thus been brought forth with the Qur’an.
We also need to concentrate on the words “cause it to be forgotten” in the verse. In order for one commandment to abrogate another, the earlier one has to have been “forgotten.” Since the Qur’an has remained unchanged for 1,400 years there can be no question of one verse replacing another. The commandments that fanatics allege have been abrogated have not been forgotten; they are still in the Qur’an. This clearly shows that the abrogation being referred to here is not of one verse by another, but of commandments belonging to earlier communities that have since been forgotten. Commands that have been sent down to earlier societies but “forgotten” have been restored with the Qur’an, with more auspicious or similar versions being sent down to those communities.

The Qur’an is a “preserved” Book

As our Lord explicitly states in a verse, the Qur’an is a “preserved” Book.
It is We Who have sent down the Reminder [the Qur’an] and We Who will preserve it. (Qur'an, 15: 9)
It is impossible for some verses in a book which is “preserved” and whose commandments apply to all Muslims to be regarded as valid, while others are not. The integrity of the Qur’an, its mathematical and scientific miracles, the fact that it is a guide and the verses regarding how it has been preserved all rebut these claims made by fanatics and some opponents of Islam.
Those who reject the Remembrance [the Qur’an] when it comes to them –truly it is a Mighty Bookfalsehood cannot reach it from before it or behind it – it is a revelation from One Who is All-Wise, Praiseworthy. (Qur'an, 41:41-42)
Its collection and recitation are Our affair. So when We recite it, follow its recitation. Then its explanation is Our concern(Qur'an, 75:17-19)
As these verses explicitly state, the Qur’an is a peerless book, and falsehood cannot catch up with it from before or behind. This book is under the protection of our Lord. It is therefore a blatant slander to suggest that some commandments have replaced those in the Qur’an.
We need to state here that the supposed scholars who slander Islam and the Qur’an in this way are in intense disagreement among themselves as to the number of verses that are supposedly abrogated. Each one in his own way replaces a verse he regards as abrogated with another commandment, and these rules therefore lead to new and different faiths; some supposed scholars have even gone so far as to maintain that hadiths can replace verses. These people completely ignore God’s verse that reads We have not omitted anything from the Book (Qur'an, 6:38). They reject verses of the Qur’an and replace them with hadiths, some of which are total fabrications. This logical collapse perpetrated in the name of Islam also represents the basis for the actions of radicals. We shall be looking at this in due course.
Just like the peddlers of superstition, opponents of Islam have also tried to apply this false interpretation over the verses to a large number of commandments about Islam. Let us now look at where these people have gone wrong.

The Mistakes in Differentiating between the “Meccan Period Muslims” and “ Medinan Period Muslims”

Some opponents of Islam refer to moderate Muslims as “Meccan period Muslims.” In their eyes, the time when our Prophet (pbuh) was in Mecca was a peaceful time of no wars, yet wars suddenly started following our Prophet’s (pbuh) migration to Medina. Some people claim, on that basis, that the proponents of war in Islam recognize only the verses revealed in the Medinan period, while peace-loving Muslims recognize only the verses from the Meccan period. That idea is as illogical as it is ignorant.
As we have already seen, the essential precondition for a Muslim to acquire the identity of a Muslim is to believe in all the verses of the Qur’an, without exception. If someone rejects a single verse, then he loses the attribute of being a Muslim as described in the Qur’an. There is therefore no possibility in the eyes of the Qur’an of someone who says, “I am a Muslim” to discriminate by saying, “I recognize this verse but not that one.”
It is true that there was no fighting in the Meccan period in the life of our Prophet (pbuh), but that there was fighting in the Medinan period and that verses were sent down concerning those particular battles. In order to understand the reason for this we need to understand the difficult conditions in the time of our Prophet (pbuh).

The Harsh Testing of Muslims in the Meccan Period

The revelation to our Prophet (pbuh) took a full 23 years. During the first 13 years of this, Muslims lived as a minority in the pagan society of Mecca and were subjected to very great pressures. Many Muslims were subjected to physical torture, some were martyred, the homes and possessions of most were looted and they were constantly exposed to threats and insults. Yet Muslims continued living without resorting to violence, merely keeping their distance from the pagans and always calling them to the path of peace.
Yet the aggression of the pagan communities in question was unending.
The Quraysh initially seemed to regard the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) as unimportant. While continuing not to believe, they made no protest against the Prophet’s (pbuh) call so long as he said nothing against their idols. When they saw the Prophet (pbuh) however, they attacked him verbally. They unwisely mocked and belittled Muslims. The Quraysh “verbal assault” period began in that way.
The Qur’an describes the position in these words:
Those who did evil used to laugh at those who had faith.
When they passed by them, they would wink at one another.
When they returned to their families, they would make a joke of them.
When they saw them, they would say, “Those people are misguided.” (Qur'an, 83:29-32)
Muslims lived as a minority in the pagan society of Mecca and were exposed to much oppression. Many Muslims were physically tortured, some were martyred, most had their homes and possessions pillaged and they were subjected to constant insults and threats. Yet Muslims continued to live without resorting to violence, merely keeping their distance from the idolaters and calling on them to live in peace.
Mecca was the center of idolatry. Mecca would fill to overflowing every day with people coming to visit the Ka’aba and the idols around it, thus earning the Quraysh a good deal of money and prestige. The Quraysh regarded the spread of Islam in Mecca as a threat, because they thought that this would act against their own interests and also attract the hostility of other tribes. They also knew that Islam regarded everyone as equal and made no discrimination on grounds of lineage or wealth. Leading members of the Quraysh therefore believed they needed to take precautions to stop the spread of Islam. These “precautions” frequently included the torture and even the killing of Muslims.[i] (Ibn Hisham, 1/287)
The pagans of the time could not do much harm to members of strong and eminent families, such as Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Uthman but they viciously mistreated poor and unprotected Muslims. Worthy Muslims exposed to such severe mistreatment included Abu Fakih, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Bilal ibn Rabah, Suhaib ar-Rumi, Ammar ibn Yasir, Yasir ibn Amir and Sumayyah bint Khayyat.
Abu Fakih, a slave of Safwan ibn Umayyah, was tied by his feet every day by his master and dragged over hot gravel and sand.
The iron-worker Khabbab ibn al-Aratt was laid on hot coals and his chest pressed down onto the coals until they had cooled.
Ammar ibn Yasir’s father, Yasir ibn Amir, had his legs tied to camels which were then driven in different directions, tearing his body apart. Unable to bear the pain of her husband being killed in that savage way, Sumayyah bint Khayyat spoke out against the pagans and was killed by an arrow fired by Abu Jahl.[ii] (Zad al-Maad, 2/116; The Age of Felicity, 1/254)
Umayyah ibn Khalaf would lay his slave Bilal al-Habashi down naked on baking sand every day. He would then place a huge rock on his chest and leave him there for hours; he tortured him to try and make him go against the Prophet (pbuh) and abandon Islam. One day he tied his hands and feet and placed a rope round his neck. He then dragged him over the hot sand through the streets of Mecca.[iii] (Zad al-Maad, 2/116; The Age of Felicity, 1/253)
They were at first unable to touch the person of our Prophet (pbuh) since he was under the guardianship of his uncle Abu Talib and since they feared the Hashemites. Gradually, however they began slandering him, saying he was a “fortune teller, a poet, a magician, a conjuror.” Eventually, they took every opportunity they could find to insult and mistreat the Prophet (pbuh).
Mekke müşrikleri
The pagans of the time were unable to harm Muslims from powerful and prestigious families, such as Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Uthman. However, they barbarically mistreated and tortured poor and helpless Muslims, in a way never seen before.
This mistreatment of Muslims all took place simply because they had faith and preached Islam to those around them. Despite all that oppression, torture and violence, Muslims never harmed those who were harming them, which is one of the requirements of Islam, and never tried to defend themselves which is their most basic human right. Seeing that the Muslims were not fighting back, the Quraysh stepped up their aggression and tortures. The Quraysh in question were now martyring Muslims the moment they see them.
As the persecution worsened, the Muslims, who did not respond to it in any way and did not even defend themselves since the Qur’an prohibits the shedding of blood, found themselves unable to remain in Mecca any longer. That meant they had to migrate to Medina.

The Medinan Period and the Battles

Eventually, as the idolaters’ attacks grew in severity, the Muslims migrated to the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina), where the climate was freer and friendlier, and set up their own administration there. Yet even after they established their own political structures, the attacks by the pagans of Mecca did not come to an end. The Quraysh followed the Muslims and persisted in violent attacks against them. Our Prophet (pbuh) and the Muslims around him never embarked on a counter-offensive against the idolaters.
No person, community or country in the world will fail to respond if they are attacked. They will always respond to the aggressor in “self defense” and at the very least, take defensive action. People who engage in self defense are invariably exonerated by the courts, and countries that do so are exonerated under international law because they have been subjected to an unjust attack, and people’s lives, families and loved ones, or countries’ peoples, lands and honor are endangered.
That also applied to our Prophet (pbuh) and Muslims in the Meccan period. Yet despite all the unjust and murderous attacks on them, our Prophet (pbuh) and the Muslims never counter-attacked on the grounds that God had made killing unlawful. Instead, as commanded in the verses, they always called the other side to peace, and when peace proposals were ineffective they left their homes, lands and cities and moved away.
In the 13 years or so of the Meccan period and the first years of the Medinan period, believers were still commanded to be patient in the face of all this torture and injustice and to preach the faith of God kindly, as revealed in the verse “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way” (Qur'an, 16:125), and no fighting was permitted. Our Prophet (pbuh) responded as follows to those Muslims who wished to stand up to the persecution in question:
Fighting is still not permitted. Be patient, God’s help is at hand, and you will be rewarded for your sufferings...”
Our Prophet (pbuh) was given permission to engage in self defense for himself and his community in the following verses which were revealed after the migration to Medina:
Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly God has the power to come to their support – those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, “Our Lord is God”… (Qur'an, 22:39-40)
With this verse, the Muslim community that had been unjustly forced into exile merely for saying “Our Lord is God” started to make preparations to defend themselves. As explicitly stated in the verse, a Muslim community “who are fought against because they have been wronged” are permitted to defend themselves; but they are not told to attack. Following this verse, Muslims began to defend themselves and fought back against the ferocious community that was attacking them. Verses concerning war and defense revealed after that contain descriptions regarding measures during the fighting taking place then. To put it another way, a special description is provided specific to the situation in that particular war. Therefore, all the verses about war in the Qur’an were specially revealed as referring to the particular attacks taking place at that time to enable us to see the difficult conditions of the time and the justice of our Prophet (pbuh).

Who were battles fought against?

One important point that needs to be remembered regarding the battles described in the Qur’an is “the other side” in the fighting. Some religious and historical sources say that the battles fought in the time of our Prophet (pbuh) were against the Jews. Some people who read those sources then go on to look for anti-Semitism in the Qur’an, claiming that the verses revealed for specific battles in the Qur’an are generally directed against the Jews. That is a grave error, however.
It was the pagans who engaged in that persecution against our Prophet (pbuh) and Muslims. A great many of these were idol-worshipers. Their aim was to prevent any harm from coming to their idols and perverse beliefs. Some were hypocrites and polytheists who had come out of Jewish communities but it would be very wrong to refer to these as Jews. In the same way that it would be very wrong to regard a polytheist or hypocrite who emerged from a Muslim community as a “Muslim,” it is equally wrong to regard polytheists and hypocrites who emerged from among Jews and began spreading violence as “Jews.” It is impossible for a true Jew to start fighting and take the lives of believers.
The Qur’an curses anti-Semitism. For that reason, those who look for expressions of enmity toward the Jews in the Qur’an return empty-handed; people who interpret the verses in question as referring to fighting against the Jews need to understand this. Our Prophet (pbuh) always enjoyed good relations with Jews. He treated them with respect and affection, and true, devout Jews treated our Prophet (pbuh) with that same respect and affection.
Information concerning our Prophet’s (pbuh) affectionate attitude toward Jews, the Torah and Judaism will be examined in detail in the chapter on the People of the Book.

The description of war in the Qur’an

The description of war in the Qur’an is quite explicit:
Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits. (Qur'an, 2:190)
War must only be waged against those who attack Muslims. That is a defensive war. It is absolutely prohibited in the Qur’an for Muslims to attack the other side for no reason.
What God commands Muslims in the Qur’an is that they must always keep justice at the fore, even if they are angry at a community because of its injustices and aggression. God reveals in one verse:
You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to devoutness. Have awe of God. God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)
For example, in one verse God prohibits Muslims from going beyond the limits regarding communities that try to stop Muslims from entering the Ka'aba, advising them to treat them and everyone else with kindness:
... Do not let hatred for a people who debar you from the Masjid al-Haram [the Sacred Mosque] incite you into going beyond the limits. Help each other to goodness and piety. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Have awe of God. God is severe in retribution. (Qur'an, 5:2)
Muslims are warned by Almighty God not to overstep the bounds, even though they have deliberately been prevented from performing their religious obligation of the hajj (pilgrimage) and have been treated unjustly. God commands Muslims to behave justly even under those conditions, and commands them to behave well and not be angered. Muslims have an obligation to obey this commandment in the Qur’an, no matter what the circumstances.
The verse that describes the only justification for fighting – self-defense – also contains another condition on the subject of war: not to go to excess. This means that in the event of an attack a Muslim must simply defend himself, must not overreact and must take no other action than defensive measures. In other words, aggression, violence, anger and extremism are banned in the Qur’an.
Another verse reveals the obligation to engage only in defense war against aggressors in these terms:
God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just. God merely forbids you from taking as friends those who have fought you in the religion and driven you from your homes and who supported your expulsion. … (Qur'an, 60:8-9)
There is an important distinction here. It is unlawful for Muslims to attack people who have never attacked them, even though they are opposed to Muslims on the level of ideas. A Muslim has a responsibility to treat such people with respect and justice. According to this verse, Muslims are only permitted to engage in defensive warfare against people who oppress them because of their beliefs and actually physically attack them; against people who initiate hostilities, in other words. As we have already seen, everyone will, of course, defend himself if he is attacked. This is the right of every person, nation and country, and is also the correct thing to do.
The fact that our Prophet (pbuh) engaged in no self-defense until the revelation of the verses permitting such activity represents enormous self-sacrifice and religious devotion. Until that time, our Prophet (pbuh) had merely resorted to methods of compromise and trying to convince the other side, as required by the verse “argue with them in the kindest way” even though the sole aim of the pagan Quraysh was slaughter.
Having made that important point, we shall now examine all the verses that the peddlers of superstitions and opponents of Islam seek to offer as evidence for their own baseless views regarding violence in Islam, and will refute their errors on the subject one after the other. Before looking at these verses, we need to know that all the battles described in the Qur’an were waged against a particular community in that region, and that these special conditions are expressed in the verses. That community was a polytheistic one, with which an agreement had been reached. Therefore, all these battles were determined by the behavior and aggression of the community in question which had breached the peace and friendship agreements. The verses sent down therefore concern the state of affairs at that time and describe that specific climate.
In order to understand that, let us look at the definition of polytheist at the time and the agreements reached with them:

Polytheists with Whom Agreements Were Made

Although, according to some commentaries of the time, the word polytheist simply means “those ascribing equals to God,” the term really refers to pagans who worship idols, who explicitly ascribe equals to God and believe in countless deities and who are not Muslim, Jewish, Sabaean, Christian or Magian.
While the Qur’an refers to the various religions that existed in Arabia during the time of the coming of Islam, the polytheists are always mentioned as a separate group. Looking at the time of our Prophet (pbuh), although it was made lawful to marry women from and eat food prepared by the People of the Book, Jews and Christians; it was forbidden to marry women from or eat food cooked by the Magians and Sabaeans, and also the polytheists.[iv]
As we have already seen, our Prophet (pbuh) was forced to migrate to Medina under severe pressure from the polytheists and from the very first days of the emigration, he established a bond of brotherhood between the Ansar (the helpers, the Muslims of Medina) and the Muhajir (the emigrants, the Muslims who had migrated from Mecca to Medina). He signed numerous agreements with polytheistic communities and people living in the region, and always invited them to be united in order to build peace, despite the extreme attitudes of the polytheists.
Our Prophet (pbuh) came to Medina, and his strengthening of love and brotherhood proved that people could live in peace with peoples of different beliefs, faiths and languages. One of the greatest proofs that he was a messenger of peace and love is that the first text he had written was a peace agreement. After capturing Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) even released all the polytheists who had previously tortured Muslims and treated them with great compassion. This superior moral virtue exhibited by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was something that had never been seen before in Arab society, and was met with great approval.
The Prophet (pbuh) is a role model for all Muslims on the subject of the implementation of justice in conquered territories. Our Prophet (pbuh) applied the justice revealed in the Qur’an to the inhabitants of countries that were taken over and made agreements with them that would content both sides and under which nobody would suffer the slightest victimization. For that reason, the peoples of conquered countries, no matter what their religion or ethnicity, were always delighted by the justice brought with it by Islam. Our Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions with him represented a community that established justice between people, as expressed in the verse, "Among those We have created there is a community who guide by the Truth and act justly according to it." (Qur'an, 7:181)
The agreement that our Prophet (pbuh) made with the Christian Najran people in the south of the Arabian peninsula is one of the finest examples of his understanding and justice. One of the articles in the treat reads as follows:
“The lives of the people of Najran and its surrounding area, their religion, their land, property, cattle and those of them who are present or absent, their messengers and their places of worship are under the protection of Allah and guardianship of His Prophet.”[v] (The Pact of Najran, Article 6, http://www.islamicresources.com /Pact_of_Najran.htm)
Following the agreements with all the societies in that region, our Prophet (pbuh) founded the state of Medina by drawing up the first constitution in the history of Islam, the Constitution of Medina. This was the first and most perfect example of a democratic and multilateral constitution. No democratic system today has been able to achieve such an order as that put into action by our Prophet (pbuh) in the Constitution of Medina, and none has been able to implement it as well as our Prophet (pbuh).

The First Multilateral and Most Democratic Constitution Ever: The Constitution of Medina

Medine vesikasi
With the Constitution of Medina, the first constitution of the state of Medina, our Prophet (pbuh) brought a democratic and peaceful order never before seen on the Arabian Peninsula to an urban community made up of various races, religions and tribes.
Under this constitution, all the communities in Medina were to live together in peace, arrange their lives according to their own faith and beliefs, and have the power to operate and regulate their own institutions and laws. In doing this, they would live together in peace and unity with all the communities in Medina.
The Constitution of Medina was written in 622 AD, under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) some 1,400 years ago, to respond to the demands of peoples of differing beliefs, and has come down to us as a written legal treaty. As a result, communities that were hostile to one another for 120 years and consisted of different religions and races were included under this constitution. By means of this agreement, the Prophet (pbuh) showed that conflict could come to an end between communities that used to attack one another at every opportunity, were hostile to one another and never compromised with one another, and that they could agree to live together.
Under the Constitution of Medina, everyone was free to make his own religious, political or philosophical choices, free from any pressure from anyone else. They could establish a community with people holding the same views. Everyone was free to exercise his own justice system. However, nobody committing an offense was to be protected by anyone else. The parties to the agreement were to help and support one another, and would be under the protection of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Disagreements between parties would be brought to the Messenger of God (pbuh). Indeed, even polytheists preferred the arbitration of our Prophet (pbuh), as he was the most just person of all.
This treaty drawn up by our Prophet (pbuh) was implemented gradually between 622 and 632 AD. Through that constitution, people moved beyond the tribal structure based on ties of blood and family, and people with very different geographic, cultural and ethnic roots came together to constitute one whole. The Constitution of Medina also established very wide-ranging freedom of belief and religion. One of the items expressing that freedom reads:
“The Jews of Banu ‘Awf are a community along with the believers. To the Jews their religion and to the Muslims their religion.”[vi] (The Constitution of Medina, http://www.islamic-study.org/jews-prophet-page-2.htm)
The Constitution of Medina consists of 47 items. Items 1–23 concern Muslims, while items 24–47 concern Jewish tribes settled in Medina. Reference being made to Christians, who were much fewer in number, is also important in terms of participation by members of different faiths.
An analysis of the Constitution of Medina in a report titled “A Reassessment of Medina Charter according to Professor Leonard Swidler’s Pluralism Perspective” states that the Constitution is a significant document in displaying the Prophet’s efforts in uniting the city and bringing the groups together around the law, which was explicitly announced to the people.
According to this report, in terms of law, each individual had equal rights, enjoyed the freedom to choose their own religion and participating in war together with Muslims while under all circumstances, they were prohibited from engaging in any separate agreements with the enemy, showing an effort to establish a strict solidarity of the Medina groups. The author of the report says that this political and religious text aimed at establishing a new society around the values of equality and freedom. As it was emphasized in the Constitution, the superiority of the law over the individual was the basic step in attaining the goal of securing an atmosphere of dialogue and co-existence. The items of the Constitution also signified the equal responsibility of each individual in defending the city. According to this report, given that the names of all the groups in the city are cited one by one, the Constitution and thereby the Prophet, recognized all these groups in the city as legal entities and took them into account.[vii] (Kenan Çetinkaya, Amerika'da Diyalog anlayışı ve Medine Vesikası [Understanding of Dialogue in America and Medina Charter])
Although there are a large number of items concerning the Jews in the constitution, it will also be appropriate to remind ourselves that it also included pagan communities living there. Although the polytheists in Mecca openly demonstrated their enmity toward the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Muslims and forced them from their lands, the Prophet (pbuh) always treated the pagans of Medina in a very affectionate, peaceable and reconciliatory way. The text of the Constitution of Medina shows that Muslims adopted a protective attitude toward the rights and laws of the polytheists, and that these polytheists wished to act alongside Muslims in the defense of Medina. Such an attitude toward the polytheists is not at all surprising because in the Qur’an, Muslims have a responsibility to protect polytheists with whom they have signed agreements, even at the cost of their own lives. (This will be set out in greater detail in due course.)
Medine vesikası
The Constitution of Medina was the first pluralist and the most democratic constitution in history, showing the protective attitude of Muslims toward the rights and laws of members of all other faiths and even idolaters.
In conclusion, the constitution in question is regarded as a highly important document containing the nucleus of unity and union, love and affection, friendship and peace, and represents an example of dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims in general and between Muslims and Jews in particular. It is hard at present to identify a Muslim society capable of living by the Qur’an-based conception of love and peace of our Prophet (pbuh) at that time. This is definitive and highly important evidence that the most democratic constitution in history was written and implemented by our Prophet (pbuh) and that present-day societies have turned away from the practices of our Prophet (pbuh) as revealed in the Qur’an.
The subsequent sections of this book therefore need to be assessed in the light of this information. The practices of today’s peddlers of superstition are radically different from the advice of the Holy Qur’an, which commands that even polytheists be protected and says that the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) enjoy a special status for Muslims, and from the practices of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who always aimed for peace and democracy. The peddlers of superstition are always looking for evidence for unceasing conflict in the Qur’an, yet the Qur’an itself always counsels peace. This important fact therefore needs to be borne in mind while interpreting the verses about war.