Recently the Wall Street Journal published an editorial by the Eqypt’s Grand Mufti, Shawki Allam. Terrorists and Their Quranic Delusions
Egypt’s grand mufti on ugly distortions of Islam masking a hunger for power and bloodshed
In this article Dr. Allam references what he claims is an example of the true humanitarian Quran : “If anyone kills a person, it is as if he kills all mankind while if anyone saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind” (5:32). That does sound very humanitarian! Interestingly, this quote is lifted directly from the Talmud where its function is an admonition against bloodsdead …but in the Quran its function is not to inspire good will but rather to threaten somebody, in this case (no surprise here) Jews. Here’s how.
According to the Quran 5:32 (a link for the specific language of this verse: http://quran.com/5/32)
• Allah gave these words of admonition “If a anyone kills…” to the Children of Israel.
• In addition, the Quran added some exceptions. The part about killing all mankind is nullified under certain circumstances: 1) in case of homicide and 2) in case of spreading mischief in the land.
• But the Children of Israel rejected the clear proofs of Allah’s supremacy and continued in sin to their discredit.
To understand where the Quran is going with this we need to go to the following verse, 5:33:
• “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.” (my emphasis in bold)
The Quranic logic of these two passages, which supposedly express the non-violent intent of the Quran according to the Mufti is as follows:
1. Allah gave the Jews an admonition about killing and how it brought with it a heavy burden -the killing of all mankind (according the Muslims Allah, is the God of all the Jewish stories and revelations).
2. But then the Quran offered some caveats having to do with the act of manslaughter and to do with the “spreading of mischief”.
3. What the Quran created was a way to circumvent the consequences of killing all of mankind, by deploying the “opt-out” about “spreading of mischief”, effectively getting themselves off the hook for all the killing prescribed in the rest of the Quran.
4. Therefore, wholesale butchery and gruesome torture of the Jews is fine (5:33) since the caveat about making mischief in the land kicks in. Very neat!
5. I’m guessing the manslaughter bit was added for other less interesting legal reasons.
So the Mufti is pointing to an atypical passage from the Quran, and characterizing it as essential Quran; In fact the Quran is using the admonition, and amending it, for no other reason than as an excuse as to subjugate/annihilate unbelievers, in this case Jews! And he conveniently omits the next grisly passage (which alone would undermine his entire “humanitarian” argument!).
Why is it important to point out any of this? Among devout Muslims, and let’s assume the Grand Mufti is one, it is an article of faith that Mohammed is the perfect example of a human being and that the Quran, which chronicles his life, is perfect and cannot be modified. The book recounts how Mohammed rampaged through Arabia until every tribe was converted to Islam, driven out, or made to submit. Islam, at its core, is mainly an engine of war; in addition it is a religion presided over by a jealous and vengeful deity. War and religion are knotted together. Any real reform movement would have to uncouple the political engine from the religion. But then you gut the whole concept. In the first 12 years of Mohammed’s preaching activities he gathered around 150 converts. Once he turned to war, he brought under submission all of Arabia numbering in the tens of thousands. The effectiveness of Jihad (war) is undeniable.
The Mufti assures us that he and the Quran share our Western attitudes of brotherhood and tolerance which he expresses so earnestly. But if one looks through the book for which he is a worldwide spokesman, we find no such enlightened attitudes. It’s not like the Quran is unavailable to examine. Quite the contrary. Still intentionally creates misleading distortions. What’s this Mufti up to?
I used the spelling of the “Quran” that the Mufti uses.
The Wall Street Journal “Terrorists and Their Quranic Delusions” by Dr. Shawki Allam April 9, 2015
An Abridged Koran (The Islamic Trilogy) The Islamic Trilogy
by Bill Warner
(this is a worthwhile book in that edits out the repetitious parts (in the full Quran the story of Moses is told 39 times) and puts things in chronological order (The actual Quran is organized from the longest chapter to the shortest –I wouldn’t want to read Moby Dick that way : )
The Life of Mohammed (A Taste of Islam) A Taste of Islam
by Bill Warner
and a few links:
A speech by the eloquent author and scholar, Robert Spencer who inspired this article:
I have written several additional articles on a website devoted to a discussion of Islam: