Sunday, February 7, 2010
Wahhabism, Koran, Israel and Fundamentalism
Are all fundamentalists made of the same wool? The Jewish Voice (Jan. 2010) reports about a Sheik Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi who teaches that “the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.” How refreshing! Instead of equating Israel with Satan, Palazzi claims that the real culprit behind the hatred and warfare is Saudi Arabia, which has “funneled huge sums of money to extremist Islamist institutions”:
• “The Saudi brand of Wahhabi Islam has distorted the real Islam and must be stopped.”
• “Wahhabism is a totalitarian cult which stands for terror, the massacre of civilians, the permanent war against Jews, Christians, and non-Wahhabi Muslims. The influence of Wahhabism in the contemporary Arab world is such that many Arab Muslims are wrongly convinced that, in order to be a good Muslim, one must hate Israel and hope for its destruction.”
• “Israel exists by Divine Right, confirmed in both Bible and Koran.”
• “As a Muslim who abides by the Qu’ran, I believe that opposing the existence of the State of Israel means opposing a Divine decree.”
Palazzi cites Sura 5.21 in support of his position:
• “O my people [Israel]! enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.” (He also cites Sura 17:104, which he claims teaches that Allah will bring the Jews back to their rightful home!)
How popular is Palazzi’s message in the Muslim world? Let’s not be blind to the fact that there is another, less irenic side to Koranic teaching that seems to always trump the peaceable Suras:
• [47.4] So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.
• [9.5] So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
• [9.29] Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
• [4.89] They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
If only Muslims would take these Suras figuratively, but it is clear that many don’t! For instance, the highly esteemed The Khan Noble Koran comments on Sura 47:4:
• “Then Allah revealed the order to discard the obligations [imposed by earlier Suras] and commanded Muslims to fight against the Mushrikun (Polytheists and Trinitarians) as well as against the people of the Scriptures of they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. At first the fighting was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory against them that start the fight against you and against all those who worship others along with Allah (Trinitarians).”
Even in view of these chilling revelations, many modern commentators throw all fundamentalists into the same Jihadist bag, citing the Biblical mass annihilations ordered by Jehovah. However, there are critical differences between what we encounter in the Bible and what we find in the Koran. While the Koran issues standing orders to fight “against all those who worship others along with Allah,” in the Bible, God orders specific instructions for a particular time and place – for the protection of the theocratic State of Israel. Nowhere had Israel been given a blank check to annihilate unbelievers. Instead, these battles were ordered as God’s holy judgment, and not according to our human assessment of who deserves it. It is like the difference between a court of law and a lynch mob.
Now, in Christ and His New Covenant, we no longer need to remove the heathens from our midst in order to protect our faith. Instead, we are directed to lovingly go out among them, for our God is with us! This is Christian fundamentalism – light-years away from other brands!