The enduring beauty of mediaeval codices: the Qur’an

A friend once pulled me up for my interest in Renaissance art, saying that she was put off by the religious imagery. She found it odd that such imagery didn’t seem to bother me. I talked about what sublimity meant to people in Europe at the time (admittedly, that would not have been the word they’d have used, as it had a different sense then). I talked about painters’ attempts at capturing that feeling, about composition and the discovery of perspective, about the technical feet of painting transparency, and about how I thought religion was also a vehicle for them with which to do a thoroughly enlightened thing: experiment (not all the subjects were religious, of course — one of my favourites remains Rafael Santi’s The School of Athens), a direct subversion of religion, a hidden dimension to what the eye beholds.

On a later occasion, another friend was delighted when I expressed a liking for his Prakash Kaushik CD, Rudram Chamakams and Suktams – Vedic Chants. I arrived at work the next morning to find the CD nicely wrapped up on my desk. We got very little work done that day, as we talked about our shared interest in Sanskrit, excitement about exploring the Mahabharata, and bafflement at the staggering numbers that attend the Kumbh Mela (at that point I was still planning on attending the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, which another friend later convinced me was an insane idea).

Then there’s another of my cultural passions: mediaeval codices. What first attracted me to Rafael’s wonderfully anachronistic School of Athens, is that Plato and Aristotle are each depicted carrying one of their books. Plato’s Timaeus and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, are both shown as codices, rather than scrolls — Rafael’s comment, in my view, on the timelessness and universal validity of those works. In the same painting we find our friend, Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd (what the “cultural appropriation” lobby would have done to Rafael does not bear thinking about). Ibn Rushd was the last of the great Muslim philosophers, an expert on Aristotle, who left his commentaries on the latter to the world, helping to kick-start Thomas Aquinas. By the time of Ibn Rushd, the codex had largely supplanted the scroll. The Qur’an that Ibn Rushd tried so hard to reconcile with reason would have been in the form of a codex. Like most mediaeval codices, it would have been expensive, carefully and very likely elaborately crafted, taken a long time to make, and been written in with painstaking care. These books were as interesting for what they said as for how the words served as embellishments for the page, often supplemented with abstract motifs and illustrations of people, animals, demons, etc.

So, naturally, my interest peeked when I clicked on the New York Times website Art Review page the other day and found The Art of the Qur’an,’ a rare peek at Islam’s holy text. “A peek at the text;” what, exactly, does that mean? I had to ask myself, especially a “rare peek.” Just to be clear, it means the embellishment of the page, and not the meaning of the text, as the subtitle of the NYT article might suggest. This ambiguity is not the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s fault. The exhibition is actually called, The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. These are stunningly beautiful codices that I would recommend anyone who is able to, to get over to Washington DC to see for themselves, which I, regrettably, am unable to do. I have to contend myself with my rather inadequate computer screen. Still, I’m grateful that such beauty can move me despite my knowledge that there is another dimension to the beauty the eye beholds. I cannot unlearn that these are some of the most horrible texts in existence today. They are responsible for the fantastic orgy of killing that has periodically plagued the world for the last 1400 years, this time round actually being able to physically destroy that world. I think again of Rafael Santi’s depiction of the Timaeus and the Nicomachean Ethics in the form of codices representing progress and the future, and how, by the same values, if he had depicted the Qur’an, it would have had to be in a form the predates even the scroll. The Qur’an, given what it represents, couldn’t have made it into the School of Athens. Ibn Rushd would’ve known that, should the question have been put to him. But the holy book of Islam might have made it as scratchings on wall of the cave in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, embellished by the blood of chopped-off fingertips.

The murtadd is out of the bottle

This is just to share some more on the growing openness and confidence of atheists in Muslim communities and societies. In the Islamic conception, apostasy is an aberration committed by an individual. There is a procedure for dealing with it and a prescribed punishment. The individual either repents and returns to Islam, or persists in apostasy and is killed. Either way, that’s the end of the problem. What is more, others are deterred from doing likewise.

Here’s the thing: Allah seems not to have considered the possibility of mass apostasy. Of course, Muhammad was the last prophet so there’s not going to be any updated version of God’s Law. So what now? Well, man-made law, such as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., are trying fill this gap in Allah’s knowledge by declaring atheism illegal. Clearly, the cutting off of heads just isn’t cutting it. A rising tide of “homegrown” atheism right there in the Islamic heartlands is what Sayed Qutb and the boys could never have dreamt of. And it’s here. I am convinced that this spread of atheism within Muslim societies is what ultimately will save the world from those who will impose Shari’a upon it. Jihadis will infiltrate the West and even score victories, but behind them their own Dar-al-Islam is being eroded by a force that they are not even conceptually prepared to deal with, let alone practically. This is one djinni that’s not going back into the bottle.

Here’s some encouraging writing about ex-Muslim atheists in India. I’d be grateful for links to material on atheists in other Muslim communities and countries.

The violence inherent to Islam and the losing battle to keep up the whitewash

Over the last year or so, more realism and honesty have become evident in the public discourse on terrorist mass murder committed by Muslims. This is in a wider context of ex-Muslims becoming increasingly public about their stance, of more non-Muslims reading the Qur’an and the Hadith for themselves and publicly challenging Muslim apologists directly on the substance of the texts, and of atheists and other secularists in the Muslim world increasingly prepared to boldly and openly declare themselves. When murtadd, the mark-out for death, has become a badge d’honneur flaunted by atheists, as the once-feared fatwa has become a joke, then it is a clear sign of tectonic plates shifting. It is a clear sign that the mechanisms of intimidation, and their handmaiden, obfuscation, are not as all-controlling as they once were. Islamic apologia stands increasingly discredited and even the “Islamophobia” slur is less bandied about these days. Voices are now being heard even inside Western policy-making circles that something is rotten in the faith of Islam. Once unthinkable, there are debates on live Arab television in which hudud, so-called sins against God, are openly expressed. These are welcome and long overdue developments — long overdue: the slaughter, just since 9/11, currently stands at 29,661 deadly terrorist attacks (yes, only the Muslim ones). At the current rate of about 250 attacks each month, it’ll top 30,000 deadly terrorist attacks by the end of 2016. And yet, despite this catalogue of spectacular carnage, those who will reduce the world to Islam are clearly much less able to control the narrative than might be concluded from such figures and the cowardly capitulation of Western apologists for Islam.

I’d like to go back to exactly a year ago today, when the contrast between intellectual honesty and intellectual bankruptcy could not have been more starkly captured than with Foreign Policy magazine’s question, “Can the wave of violence sweeping the Islamic world be traced back to the religion’s core teachings?” posed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and to Manal Omar, and their answers then published. I want to look at how these two critics, the realist Hirsi Ali and the apologist Omar, approached this question, and suggest that the “Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam,” claim is discredited not only because it is manifestly untrue, but because the people making that claim lack integrity. We are not talking about merely the other side of an argument here. An obviously dishonest claim is knowingly advanced by obviously dishonest means. One tragic outcome of this is that Muslim sensibilities came to trump human life.

Let us examine the two responses to the question. Hirsi Ali starts by simply restating the question in her own words:

Does this violent extremism stem from Islam’s sacred texts? Or is it the product of circumstance, which has twisted and contorted Islam’s foundations?

She then lays out her three prerequisites for answering this question:

(i) drawing the important distinction between Islam as a set of ideas and Muslims as adherents. (ii) The socioeconomic, political, and cultural circumstances of Muslims are varied across the globe. (iii) distinguish[ing] between three different groups of Muslims in the world today based on how they envision and practice their faith.

This is a clear, objective staking out of the ground and we are now ready for her argument. Omar, by contrast, dispenses with such preliminaries. He opens his piece by immediately disparaging the question itself:

There is a tempting logic that has gained prominence in the post-9/11 world that attributes violent extremism from Muslims to the core tenets of Islam.

The question, he says, is grounded in seductive, but fallacious logic and answering it in a particular way is succumbing to that fallacious logic; all this without actually stating the question, or showing its logic to be fallacious.

After differentiating between three groups of Muslims (the specifics of which, incidentally, I have some difficulty with), Hirsi Ali then proceeds to answer the question by directly examining both the Qur’an and the Hadith, “the religion’s core texts”, for the inspiration for terrorism. She also explains the tenacity of these core texts and their continued validity. Omar, by contrast, presents no core texts, but instead offers a one-sided selection of “Middle East experts”, “the most prominent Muslim academics” and “the world’s top Muslim leaders and scholars”, whom he mixes together in such a way as to escape answering the question: “Can the wave of violence sweeping the Islamic world be traced back to the religion’s core teachings?” These experts, prominent academics and top leaders and scholars (who would dare question such authority?) are selected for the help their words can lend to Omar in crafting his list of attributes that it will show Muslim terrorists to have in common something other than adherence to Islam’s core texts. Those terrorists, as it happens, do not see it that way, and neither do those who are honest about Islam and its sacred texts, as the terrorists also are. Omar makes no attempt, nor do his sources (at least in those passages he has selected), to dissociate Muslim terrorists from those core texts, indeed, that link is simply ignored, while the proponents of such a link are disparaged.

Of course, if it were possible to show from Islam’s core texts themselves that they do not inspire terrorism, then we would have seen that done a long time ago and repeated over and over. Nothing would be more valuable to Islamic apologists. Western moderate Muslims have come a cropper for trying to do exactly that. The Qur’an, unfortunately, does not yield. From Islam’s perspective, the terrorists will always be right, no matter what Muslims may say. Of course this offends moderate Muslims. The point here is that such offence is unavoidable. The deaths caused by Muslim terrorists are avoidable. What, exactly, are our priorities? When, exactly, has one person’s sensibilities become more important than another person’s life? Just two days ago, Muslim terrorists used two ambulances to kill 25 people and injure over 100. I hope no Muslim feelings were hurt.

I’m as sick of “diversity” as I am of “cultural appropriation”

I wonder whether Marlon James will draw down the same opprobrium down upon himself for critiquing “diversity” as had Lionel Shriver for doing so with “cultural appropriation.” My guess is he will not, for like me, he is black. The diversity proponents don’t quite know how to deal blacks who don’t comply with this comfortable construct. We make it hard. It’s not supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be comfortable. Since this is the era of white guilt, all manner of knee-jerk abuse can be heaped on whites (especially if they’re male) backed up with pseudo-philosophy and guilt-trips substituting for analysis. Who, exactly, needs this? Who thrives on this?

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Marlon is saying (or perhaps I’m missing bits he isn’t saying), I’m glad that “diversity” and “cultural appropriation” are not universally held to be self-evidently correct. Looking at the actors driving such phenomena will yield more than “doing one’s bit for them.” One of the wonders of being human is the rich diversity of our species. When diversity is appropriated from the species and ossified as sacrosanct and inviolate attributes owned by circumscribed groups, we end up in our currant bizarre situation of selling diversity back to ourselves, only this time without the vibrancy, fluidity, adaptability and fertility, for now it is pressed into service to preserve our divisions. White are not the only guilty ones.

“Liberal Submission: Protect Islam, Defame Christianity”

How far the rot has spread. In an interesting checklist by Giulio Meotti, published today, he takes stock of media reactions to comparable acts directed alternately at Islam and Christianity. It seems apt to draw attention to it given a recent exchange on this blog over reactions to a commentator’s call for mosques to be burnt down, compared to the comparatively tame, if not silent, responses in the media to the Qur’an’s wholesale exhortations to mass murder and other similarly depraved acts. When is someone going to publicly say that they are appalled that such a book bears the adjective “Holy”? When is someone going to openly demand Muslims choose between ethics and the Qur’an? Why are so few appalled by this free pass? The murders and the rapes and the slavery and the mutilations, all commanded by the Qur’an, continue under cover of Muslim silence and Western collusion in that silence. Whose job is it, whose moral responsibility is it, who can be relied on, to put the Qur’an on trial? Muslims? The ethical state? The Western general public? Atheists and secularists in the Muslim world? Who will do this?

The war against ISIS is good and necessary, in that it saves lives. The war against ISIS is also delusional, in that it protects the Qur’an. The war against ISIS cannot be a substitute for the war against the Qur’an, the real poisoner of minds. This ISIS is not the first, and it will not be the last, not while the fountainhead spews forth.

Peaceful Muslims, well, it’s complicated

“And fight them [jihad] until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief or unrest from it] and all worship is for Allah alone,” (Qur’an 2:193).

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in Jihad has himself performed Jihad,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book O 9.1)

There is no punishment to be imposed on, “a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book O 1.2)

“Kill them wherever you find them,” (Qur’an 2:191).

“Never shall I be a help to those who sin!” (Qur’an 28:17)

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you…” (Qur’an 4:59).

“And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way over the believers.” (Quran 4:141).


The once-strident claim that 99.9% of 1.7 billion Muslims are peaceful is seldom heard these days. Similarly, the complaint that the 0.1% of Muslims who engage in jihad (as per Allah’s numerous commands) get all the attention, while the peaceful majority is ignored (usually accompanied by the body language of deep hurt, as so well effected by, for example, Tariq Ramadan).

Much has been written of late about the Western taboo against confronting Islam’s terrorism head-on, and especially against acknowledging such terrorists as Muslims. It is a self-imposed taboo observed by Western non-Muslims anxious, supposedly to, “not offend the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful.” One consequence of this misguided counsel, of course, is ineffective anti-terrorism.

In this context, “peaceful Muslims” are held up as innocent people caught in the crossfire. How true is it that peaceful Muslims are standing on the side-lines in jihad? In previous posts I have talked about the continuing Muslim practise of enrolling their children in madrassas as the starting point of creating the terrorists who will later carry out 2:193 and other similar commandments, and appealed to peaceful Muslims to cut off that supply by no longer sending their children to madrassa. While I may not have grounds for confidence, I find it a hugely positive sign that there are Muslim parents who take the anguished step of reporting their suspect youngsters to the authorities before disaster strikes. But what are we to make of peaceful Muslims who actively undermine effective anti-terrorism measures? Bulgaria may serve as one case in point.

According to Mariya Cheresheva, in Bulgaria Moves to Make Radical Islam a Crime, published in Balkan Insight on 3 October 2016,

Preachers of radical Islam in Bulgaria face up to three years in prison and fines of up to US$2,800 under changes to the penal code adopted on a first reading by MPs …“six hypotheses of preaching an ideology that could be qualified as ‘radical’. Among them are agitating for the creation of an Islamic state or Caliphate, calling for the enforcement of Sharia law and calling for jihad against non-Muslims. Recruiting followers, agitating for or collecting funds for terror organizations, ‘whose ideology is based on the Islam,’ will also be considered a crime if the legal changes make it past the second reading.”

Most instructive (and depressing) about this development was that MPs from the ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms Party, MRF, (Muslim) made themselves scarce from the Chamber when the proposed legislation came to the vote. “We are against radicalization,” MRF Vice-Chairman Aliosman Imamov is reported to have said, “But I… deem it profane for someone from this tribune to try to convince me that my religion creates terrorists.” Imamov, playing word-games over his Qur’an, considers it profane to even try to convince him. What hope is there of Muslims saving themselves, let alone “reforming” Islam, if they actively undermine anti-terrorism in this way, or worse, close ranks to protect imams on trial for incitement to jihad, as in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, through systematic abuse of the right to due process, ultimately weakening this attempt to curtail jihad and Shari’a incitement, and terrorist recruiting, by judicial means?

Not only does Islam impose no punishment on a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim, it commands Muslims to kill non-Muslims “wherever you find them.” While many peaceful Muslims make peace with themselves by pretending that no such commands exist (there are many), how likely is it that the same circumspection guides their response to the religious encouragement to lie to and deceive non-Muslims, for example, by being friendly to them when such friendship is expressly forbidden. When clearing the way for others to commit mass murder gains you the religious benefit of having done so yourself, how many peaceful Muslims will be ready to assist anti-terrorism?

I am well aware that the Patriotic Front is a right-wing party. I consider that fact to be irrelevant. Are we saying that a government or a political party has to have impeccable credentials before we’ll allow it to act against killers? At the time of Muammar Gaddafi’s fall, I was teaching at a university in an Arab country. My students, all Muslim, had been rock-solid in their condemnation of Gaddafi and his murderous regime—until an Israeli musician created the Zenga, zenga song parodying the dictator. The switch was instant and complete. It is already inconceivable for a Muslim, any Muslim, to countenance criticism from any non-Muslim for any reason, but when that non-Muslim happens to be Israeli, the response is a psychological phenomenon of an altogether different order. I am not saying that people who call themselves Muslim cannot be peaceful. I’m saying that the word “peaceful”, when applied to Muslims, has to come with some heavy caveats if it is not to be misleading. The unconditional praising of “peaceful Muslims” is itself an aid to jihad.

The Bulgarian Muslims going out of their way to scupper their government’s anti-terrorism measures may not be inciting pogroms against non-Muslims, but by their actions and wilful omissions they are facilitating terrorism and enabling terrorists, thereby showing themselves to be anything but peaceful. It puts into sharp relief the folly of our Human Rights moral high ground. Such Muslims don’t care tuppence about their own Human Rights, themselves wishing to see these abolished along with those of everyone else by way of the imposition of Shari’a, whether they or someone else is doing the actual killing. These examples illustrate once again, if such is still necessary, that confronting Islam is not a matter of denying Human Rights to Muslims, but of defending those rights for all of us from Muslims who are out to destroy them but need those Human Rights protected for themselves in order to do so. If “peaceful Muslims” such as Imamov had their way, or stunts such as those by the “peaceful” congregation of Pazardzhik were aloud to succeed, there would be no effective anti-terrorism at all (Western authorities don’t know that the terrorists are Muslim, remember?) Farewell Human Rights. It was good while it lasted. Well, at least we will have gone down defending the Human Rights of those who never wanted them in the first place — in other words, on whom we had imposed them — and who spit on those rights, and on us for doing so. But we are too sanctimonious to take this reality into account and to modify our defence of Human Rights accordingly. It’s what makes us superior, right?


Spreading knowledge of Islam

The Pennsylvanian today carries a short report by Elizabeth Winston on a Muslim Students Association initiative to “spread awareness of their faith”. Winston’s report begins with the words, “In a year marked by Islamophobia,” thereby setting the tone for a minor catalogue of happy-clappy Muslim stuff and not a single word about Islam. She tells her readers that “The goal of the event was to show that Muslims are just regular people and are more than just a stereotype.” She’d apparently by then already forgotten her own headline: “The Muslim Student Association is spreading knowledge of Islam to fight bigotry”. One commentator, Arafat, was having none of it. In response, he posted this (I’ve cleaned up the formatting a bit for clarity; the text is unaltered in any way):

I’m in! Let’s teach infidels about Islam!

Shari’a and Apostasy

Sharia is Islamic Law. It is the religious legal system that governs the political, social and moral duties of faithful Muslims. It is what is meant by “God’s Law.”

The Sharia was derived from the Sunnah – the way of life of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith (traditions). It pulls various Quran verses and historical narrations into an organized body of rules.

Although Muslims as individuals often decide which parts of Sharia to follow or ignore, the Quran (33:21) says that it is not fitting for a believer to choose for themselves (i.e., disregard) any matter already decided by Allah.

Likewise, a government that limits God’s Law in any way is an enemy of Allah and must be fought. The establishment of Sharia is the fundamental objective of every Islamic terror group. Once an Islamic state is in place, the Quran (9:29) and Sharia (o9.8) make it mandatory for Muslims to fight those Jews and Christians who will not convert or accept inferior status.

This reality is left out by proponents of Sharia in the West, who hide behind the cloak of religion and expose only the more benign personal rules (such as those dealing with prayer and hygiene). This is to make it appear as if detractors are religious bigots whose real problem is intolerance for a different set of beliefs about God and worship.

In fact, Sharia is explicitly opposed to religious freedom, freedom of conscience and the free exchange of ideas. It is violent, openly bigoted toward non-Muslims, discriminatory, and unflinchingly sexist. Large sections deal with the practice of slavery. None of this changes by affixing a “phobia” label or otherwise insulting detractors.

The following sections highlight what Sharia actually says about important issues. References are to the classic manual, Reliance of the Traveller, considered one of the soundest translations of Islamic law. The full version in PDF form can be found here.

(Literal text from Reliance is in italics).


Freedom of Conscience and the Free Exchange of Ideas

(o8.1) – When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.

(o8.4) – There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (since it is killing someone who deserves to die).

Acts that define “leaving Islam” and being subject to execution are listed in o8.7. They include:


-2- to intend to commit unbelief, even if in the future

-3- to deny the existence of Allah… or any of his attributes

-6- to be sarcastic about Allah’s name, his command, his interdiction… or his threat

-7- to deny any verse of the Quran

-8- to mockingly say, “I don’t know what faith is”

-17- to believe that things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah


Holy War (Jihad)

(o9.0) – Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion…

The scriptural basis for jihad… is such Koranic verses as:

-1- “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2: 216);

-2- “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4: 89);

-3- “Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9: 36);

and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

(o9.1) – Jihad [against non-Muslims in their own countries ] is a communal obligation… “He who provides the equipment for a soldier in Jihad has himself performed Jihad”

(o9.7) – The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax in accordance with the word of Allah Most High:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled” (Quran 9.29))

(o9.9) – The caliph fights all other people until they become Muslim



(p17.3) – The Prophet (Allah Bless him and give him peace) said: “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”



m3.4 – 3.7 say that a woman may not “conduct her own marriage”, meaning that she is not free to marry by choice. A male guardian is required to validate the marriage agreement.

m3.8 says that a woman is not free to choose her guardian. It is assigned by family relation. Once she is married, she becomes the charge of her husband’s guardianship.

A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man (Quran 2:221). An untranslated portion of the Sharia even forbids an Arab woman from marrying a non-Arab man (source).

(m13.4) – A woman has no right to custody of her children from a previous marriage when she remarries.

(m5.1) – It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when he asks her… and she can physically endure it.

(m10.11-2) – It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by the permission of her husband.

(m10.11) – When a husband notices signs of rebelliousness in his wife, he warns her in words. If she commits rebelliousness, he keeps from sleeping with her without words, and may hit her, but not in a way that injures her, meaning he may not break bones, wound her, or cause blood to flow.

(o4.9) – The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man.

(L10.3) – Divide the universal share so the male receives the portion of two females (Rule of inheritance based on the Quran 4:11)

(m2.3) – It is unlawful for women to leave the house with faces unveiled


(Bigotry toward those outside the Islamic faith)

(o4.9) – The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third of the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid of a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth of that a Muslim.

(h8.24) – It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim.

(e2.3) – It is offensive to use the vessels [dishes] of non-Muslims or wear their clothes.

e8.3 says that a non-Muslim may not touch the Quran.

f21.2 says that non-Muslims are not allowed to ‘mix’ with Muslims at certain events.

g1.2 says that it is permissible for a Muslim to visit a non-Muslim who is ill, but not recommended. (Same with visiting the grave of a non-Muslim relative – g5.8)

(L5.2) – a non-Muslim may not inherit from a Muslim. (or vice versa)

o1.2 states that there is no penalty for a Muslim who kills a non-Muslim

o11.0-11 says that non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state may live free from harm if they
– pay a special ‘poll’ tax (the jizya)

– comply with certain Islamic rules, specifically the penalty for adultery (stoning) and theft (amputation)

– distinguish themselves from Muslims by dressing differently

– keep to the side of the side of the street when Muslims pass

– accept a lesser form of greeting

– agree not to build new churches or build houses higher than those of Muslims
The agreement is broken (meaning that the non-Muslim may be lynched) if he breaks the rules, fails to pay the poll tax, “leads a Muslim away from Islam”, “mentions something impermissible” about Islam, or has sex with a non-Muslim woman.

(o22.13) – The judge treats two litigants impartially, seating both in places of equal honor, attending to each, and so forth, unless one is a non-Muslim, in which case he gives the Muslim a better seat

See also Rights of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State


Sex and Honor Killing

(o1.2) – The following are not subject to retaliation: … -4- a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring or offspring’s offspring

o12.2 – The penalty for adultery is stoning. The penalty for unmarried sex (fornication) is 100 lashes.

A large section of the Sharia is devoted to codifying the practice of slavery (k32.0). The Reliance of the Traveller omits these rules from the English language translation, perhaps to obscure the comfortable relationship between Islam and slavery. However, parts from other sections address both the capture of slaves and the sanctioning of forced conversion under obvious duress.

(o9.13) – When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.

(o9.14) – When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (O: before the caliph chooses) then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.

(o9.12) Whoever enters Islam before being captured may not be killed or his property confiscated, or his young children taken captive.

o4.9 is one of several rules that establish slaves as property, to be traded as a form of restitution.

o20.2 makes it clear that a slave freed as a method of expiation must be a “sound Muslim.”



(o14.1) – A person’s right hand is amputated, whether he is a Muslim, non-Muslim subject of the Islamic state


Art and Music

r40.1 says that musical instruments are condemned.

(r40.3) – One should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive (with the exception of songs that encourage piety).

(p44.1) – Every maker of pictures will go to the fire, where a being will be set upon him for each picture he made, to torment him in hell

(w50.2) – Pictures imitate the creative act of Allah (when they are of animate beings).

(o17.9) – It is unlawful to decorate walls with pictures (generally interpreted as pictures of animate beings).

Does Islam allow freedom of religion or does it threaten the death penalty for apostasy?

Those who turn their back on Islam are to be executed. This is confirmed by the words and deeds of Muhammad. The only freedom of belief in Islam is the freedom to become Muslim.

Quran (4:89) – “They wish that you should reject faith as they reject faith, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” Verse 4:65 says that those who have faith are in “full submission” to Muhammad’s teachings. This verse explains what should happen to Muslims who do not have faith.
Quran (9:11-12) – “But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief – Lo! they have no binding oaths – in order that they may desist.”

Other verses that seem to support the many Hadith that establish the death sentence for apostates are Quran verses 2:217, 9:73-74, 88:21, 5:54, 9:66.
Hadith and Sira

The most reliable Hadith collection contain numerous accounts of Muhammad and his companions putting people to death for leaving Islam. According to verse 4:80 of the Quran: “Those who obey the Messenger obey Allah.”

Sahih Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ ”

Sahih Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

Sahih Bukhari (84:57) – [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

Sahih Bukhari (89:271) – A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to “the verdict of Allah and his apostle.”

Sahih Bukhari (84:58) – “There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu’adh asked, ‘Who is this (man)?’ Abu Muisa said, ‘He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.’ Then Abu Muisa requested Mu’adh to sit down but Mu’adh said, ‘I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice.’ Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, ‘Then we discussed the night prayers'”

Sahih Bukhari (84:64-65) – “Allah’s Apostle: ‘During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'” This verse from the Hadith is worse than it appears because it isn’t speaking solely of apostates, but those who say they believe but don’t put their religion into practice.

Sahih Bukhari (11:626) – “The Prophet said, ‘No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl.’ The Prophet added, ‘Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses’.”

Abu Dawud (4346) – “Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?” Muhammad is chastising his companions for allowing an apostate to “repent” under duress. (The person in question was Muhammad’s former scribe, who left him after doubting the authenticity of divine “revelations” – upon finding out that grammatical changes could be made. He was brought back to Muhammad after having been captured in Medina).

al-Muwatta of Imam Malik (36.18.15) – “The Messenger of Allah said, “If someone changes his religion – then strike off his head.”

Reliance of the Traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1 – “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.” (o8.4 affirms that there is no penalty for killing an apostate).


Islamic Law:

There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafii), as well as classical Shiite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. The process of declaring a person to be an apostate is known as takfir and the disbeliever is called a murtad.

Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy: “An apostate…is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, ‘Slay those who change their din [religion]’…Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition…prior to his execution.”

The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy endorsed manual of Islamic Law, Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states: “Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst…. When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory…to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.”

The OIC’s Sharia-based Cairo Declaration is transparent in its rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10:

“Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism.” Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the “punishment” of so-called “apostates” from Islam: “[19d] There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.; [22a] Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.; [22b] Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.; [22c] Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.”

We will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. We will not cower.

I’ve not yet seen the film Exposure: Islam’s non-believers, but here is Maryam Namazie in an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer before the screening.

We have been brave enough to come out as former Muslims, despite the compulsion (yes, compulsion) on all Muslims to kill us. We have been exposing the fraud that is “peaceful Islam”. We have taken on the apologists and are taking apart the web of lies and half-truths they’ve fed to Western governments, policy-makers and the general public about Islam’s intentions in the West. We must now dismantle the infrastructure of intimidation and bullying that Muslims (people who live by the Islamic holy book) and their sycophantic non-Muslim accomplices have put in place, and that we’ve seen so scandalously put to work over the last week.

Brava, Maryam! Bravo, all who have escaped Islam!