The Million-Dollar Qur’an Challenge By Robert Spencer

I expand on this reponse to Jamal Badawi’s offer of a million dollars to anyone who can find that the Qur’an condones religious warfare, and explore the implications of the offer, in FrontPage today.

(By the way, I heard from Dr. Badawi last night, but alas, he didn’t ask me where he should send the million-dollar check. He just asked for more Qur’an verses, since I had said there were “many others,” and I supplied some more (there are still more). So I expect he may be drafting a reply.)

A prominent Islamic apologist named Jamal Badawi, renowned as a “moderate Muslim,” has offered one million dollars to anyone who can find references in the Qur’an that condone “religious war, or jihad.”

The Bergen Record reported this at face value, so even though it noted that Badawi made the challenge “jokingly,” Badawi’s point was made: the Qur’an does not teach religious warfare, and it’s only media distortion that gives any other impression.

Badawi almost certainly knows better. But his “joking” offer only obfuscates the truth about how jihadists use the Qur’an to recruit and motivate terrorists — thereby blindsiding gullible Americans into thinking that mosques do not need to be monitored, and Muslims are unfairly “profiled” by law enforcement agencies. As such, Badawi’s offer is not a joke. It is a political statement, and one that harms our ability to guard against terrorist attacks on American soil.

Dr. Badawi, I want to be a millionaire. Here are a few quotes from the Qur’an:

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (2:190-191)

Slay the disbelievers. Sounds like a religious war to me. So does this:

Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. (2:216-217)

And this, which identifies the enemies of the Muslims as disbelievers and friends of Satan:

Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. (4:74-76)

Here the religious warriors, or the angels who protect them, are to behead those who do not believe:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.” (8:12)

Cf. this verse, which also makes clear the religious character of the fight:

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost. (47:4)

This one states the goal of the fighting in terms that also make clear that the war is religious:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. (8:39)

This one, like many others, makes it clear that the fighting that believers must do is not spiritual, but physical — otherwise the promise that the believers will overcome long odds would make little or no sense:

O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. (8:65)

This is the celebrated “Verse of the Sword”:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (9:5)

Again, hard to see that as spiritual or metaphorical fighting. And this one establishes that the warfare is against the People of the Book, that is, Jews and Christians:

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. (9:29)

There are many other such verses, but I don’t have to speak with Dr. Badawi to know what he will say about this list: I am taking the verses out of context. I can only understand them properly in the original Arabic. I need to be well-versed in the science of Qur’anic interpretation, tafsir, to be able to understand them. Only an “Islamophobe” would take such verses at face value.

Very well. But what is he going to do about Muslims who read such verses and take them at face value? For instance, the Ingushetian Shura Council in Chechyna has explained in a recent communiqué that “Allah created people so that He could be worshipped alone, so no companions are ascribed to Him, and He permitted Jihad on His Straight Way, so that the Religion of Allah could be above all, so that all areas of life could be guided by Islam, and so that the Earth could be cleansed of unbelief.” In support of this idea, the Council quoted Sura 8:39, as it appears above. Likewise, in a treatise entitled “The true meaning of Jihad” that was posted last year on several jihadists websites, one Sidik Aucbur charged that “the West” was trying to distort the meaning of jihad by teaching that “Jihad is only about struggling against our desires.” He quotes the Qur’an copiously to establish that jihad means warfare against unbelievers, and declares: “there are over 120 verses of the Qur’an that use the Shari’ [Islamic legal] meaning of Jihad to mean fighting and killing.” Aucbur adds that all four major schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence agree on this point: “It has been agreed upon by the classical scholars that the Shari’ah meaning of Jihad is to fight and kill the kuffar [unbelievers]: Hanafi school in the book ‘Badiia as Saniia;’ Maliki school in the book ‘Manhal Jaleel,’ Shaffi school in the book ‘al Iqnaa,’ Hanbali school in the book ‘al Mughni.’”

Aucbur is hardly eccentric in pointing out this sort of thing; such arguments are echoed by jihadists worldwide, who use passages of the Qur’an and Islamic law to recruit new jihad warriors and convince Muslims that theirs is the “true Islam.” Is Badawi unaware of all this? Rather than throw his millions around with claims that the Qur’an contains nothing in the way of exhortations to religious warfare, wouldn’t it be more honest of him to acknowledge that such passages exist and are used by jihadists, and to offer some cogent explanation of how their force can be blunted within the Islamic community — if indeed it can?

This is one of the fundamental defects of the post-9/11 discourse in America: Muslim spokesmen again and again have insisted that Americans accept that Islam is a religion of peace, without offering a shred of evidence to this effect. Meanwhile, Muslims worldwide continue to commit violence in the name of Islam, and bland denials like Badawi’s not only do nothing to stop them, but perpetuate political myths that continue to mislead Americans about the sources of terror. As long as this goes on, nothing effective can or will be done to stop the ideology of jihad terrorism from proliferating in mosques and Islamic schools in the United States and around the world.

Dr. Badawi, I hope to hear from you soon. I’m so excited about your million-dollar offer, I have already started spending the money. After you pay me, I’ll treat you to lunch in Gstaad; we’ll get there on the new Jihad Watch Learjet.

This content was used with the permission of Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch. You can read more of his work by clicking here.

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