As I continued reading from volume 1, hadith 3, I found many hadith with teachings I had heard often, including that Muslims should avoid harming others (1.10), feed the poor and greet the strangers kindly (1.11), and even follow the golden rule (1.12). No doubt, this was the loving, peaceful Islam I had always known.
But when I arrived at hadith 1.24, my jaw dropped.
In it, Muhammad says, "I have been ordered by Allah to fight against people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity...then they will save their lives and property from me."
Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Muhammad was saying that he would fight people until they became Muslim or until he killed them and took their property. That was impossible! It ran counter to everything I knew about Muhammad, and it contradicted the Quran's clear statement that "there is no compulsion in religion."
I simply could not believe it, and so I hurriedly moved on to the next hadith. But 1.25 said that the greatest thing a Muslim can do after having faith is to engage in jihad. As if to clarify what kind of jihad, Sahih Bukhari clarifies, "religious fighting."
As I read through [Sufi biographer] Lings' book, I came across another section that challenged what I knew about Islam. Titled "The Threshold of War," the chapter seemed to say that it was the Muslims who were the first aggressors against Mecca after Muhammad had migrated to Medina. Muhammad sent eight Muslims to lie in wait for a Meccan trade caravan during the holy month. Even though this was a time of sacred truce for Arabs, the Muslims killed one man, captured two others, and plundered their goods.
...Muhammad ordered a warrior to assassinate a mother of five, Asma bint Marwan. She was breastfeeding a child when she was murdered, her blood splattering on her children. When the assassin told Muhammad he had difficulty with what he had done, Muhammad showed no remorse.
[I]n the aftermath of the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad captured and beheaded over five hundred men and teenage boys from the Jewish tribe of Qurayza. After the Muslims killed the men, they sold the women and children into slavery and distributed their goods among themselves.
Since this account was found in both hadith and sirah, the Muslims online could not argue that it was fabricated. They instead looked to justify Muhammad's actions, usually arguing that the Jews had been treacherous and deserved what they got. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, pp. 219-222
Monday, December 7, 2015
Muhammad the Violent