Give them victory over ‘Qawm -el Kafiroon’

Tarek Fatah wrote a column in the Toronto Sun in January that tells me something I didn’t know.

One of the reasons I avoid attending Friday congregations at mosques is a specific ritual supplication uttered by Imams at many mosques in Canada and around the world, just prior to our formal Friday community prayer, the Juma’a.

In the supplication, the cleric prays to Allah for, among other things, to grant “Muslims victory over the ‘Qawm al-Kafiroon,’” the Arabic phrase that lumps all non-Muslims — Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists and Sikhs — into one derogatory category, the “Kuffar”, or non-Muslims.

Well that’s gross. For one thing there’s the lumping, for another there’s the derogation, for another there’s the “victory” – which, given that there’s not One Big War on with Muslims on one side and the Kuffar on the other, must mean domination. Imagine the yelling there would be if the pope prayed for god to grant Christians victory over the Muslims. It’s an ugly prayer with an ugly thought behind it.

This supplication is not obligatory. Not uttering this prayer would in no way adversely affect the holiness or solemnness of the collective community prayer.

I have long argued with my orthodox and conservative Muslim friends and family that at least when living among non-Muslims, we should avoid praying for their defeat at the hands of Muslims.

It’s not great when not living among us, either, especially since even majority-Muslim countries have plenty of non-Muslims in them. It’s even more bullying when Muslims are the majority, in fact.

He has friends who agree with him, but they’re afraid to act on their agreement.

Inside the mosque, I was hoping that in wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the cleric would have the good sense not to speak about non-Muslims as adversaries or enemies, but my hopes were dashed.

Far from condemning the acts of terror, the cleric, speaking in English, thundered that Islam “will become established in the land, over all other religions, although the ‘Disbelievers’ (Jews, Christians, Hindus and Atheists) hate that.”

It’s just bullying. It’s dominance-display. It’s nasty.

At the end of his “khutba” (sermon), the cleric repeated the ritual praying to Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims. That prayer is:

“O Allah, pour patience upon Muslims, strengthen their feet and give them victory over ‘Qawm -el Kafiroon’ (Non-Muslims).

“O Allah, give victory to our brothers the Muslims, the oppressed, the tyrannized and the ‘Mujahedeen’ (those who fight jihad against non-Muslims)”.

Then we all stood up in orderly rows, turned towards Mecca and followed the imam as he led us in the ritual prayer that is obligatory for all Muslims.

As I left, I knew I would not be returning to that mosque again.​

Always jockeying. Give ME the biggest ice cream cone, give ME the best seat, give ME the adoration and worship, give ME authority and power.



  1. RJW says

    “It’s just bullying. It’s dominance-display. It’s nasty.”

    It’s Islam as originally conceived and practised by Mohammed and his followers.

  2. says

    Then we all stood up in orderly rows, turned towards Mecca and followed the imam as he led us in the ritual prayer that is obligatory for all Muslims.

    It’s a huge bullying enablement and extortion scheme! And that’s just the catholics!

  3. says

    All religion is dominance display and nastiness. Ultimately, they all boil down to “we are the good guys because god likes us and everyone else is the sux0rs”

  4. Blanche Quizno says

    This sort of tribal mentality served its purpose when people lived as small groups, where similar groups were a threat. But back in the day, there was no concept of “religion” or “belief” – one was simply a member of the group and everybody thought the same. What we regard now as a religion that may be chosen was, back then, simply a matter of tribal identity, not something subject to change on a whim or upon learning of something new. It was simply not that sort of thing. Even when there were kings, the kings decided what religion everyone would believe and that was that.

    Now, though, with most of the population living in urban areas (in the US, at least), this sort of thinking is absolutely toxic. While a unified tribal identity may have strengthened the tribe, with so many different people living in close quarters, it is pernicious and destructive to regard as an enemy/target/servant/slave everyone who is not just like you. If a belief system does not promote respect for others, to the point of acknowledging that each has the right to choose a belief system (or not) freely and without coercion, following the dictates of one’s own heart and conscience, then it must definitely, justifiably, be regarded with suspicion and caution by everyone else in society – because it threatens everyone else in society.

    Whatever happened to “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256)?

  5. Blanche Quizno says

    @1 RJW – we actually don’t have any idea about anything Mohammed or his followers. Nothing was written down about him until the mid-to-late 8th Century CE – over a century later later. Just as with Jesus, there is really nothing contemporary to go on, and what there is is so steeped in the miraculous and nonsensical as to be useless from a historian’s perspective. But as with Christianity, what came to be written of “the prophet” served the needs of those in power at the time the Qur’an and the hadith were being compiled.

  6. chrislawson says

    Marcus@3: “All religion is dominance display and nastiness.” Too broad a brush, my friend.

  7. RJW says

    @5 Blanche Quizno,

    “we actually don’t have any idea about anything Mohammed or his followers.”
    Yes, I understand your argument, however we have the historical records of the Eastern Romans who were attacked by Arab tribes early in the 7th century and the subsequent conquest and Islamisation of North Africa, Persia and the ME. So whether Islam is a rationalisation of, or a vehicle for, Arab imperialism is not really relevant from a contemporary perspective, i.e. whether Mohammed existed is not the point, Muslims believe that such a person existed and that his life of violent jihad is an exemplar for all people. ‘Moderate’ Muslims must face the very inconvenient truth at the core of their religion.

    “But as with Christianity, what came to be written of “the prophet” served the needs of those in power at the time the Qur’an and the hadith were being compiled.”

    Agreed, but the earliest Christians were prepared to die rather than kill, and Christianity was initially, the religion of the lowest classes in Greco-Roman society. Whether Jesus existed or whether Christianity was invented by St Paul is immaterial, it was originally not a violent or totalitarian religion, in fact Gibbon blamed the enervating effects of early Christianity for Rome’s decline.

    I should have been more explicit.

  8. chrislawson says

    May I make an observation? While it is good to have this behaviour exposed and the relevant imams criticised, I think it’s equally important to point out that the main critic here is a practising Muslim who has made his concerns public and chosen to abandon the mosques that speak this prayer.

  9. Silentbob says

    “You must not permit these cartoons, they incite prejudice against Muslims”, said the Imam. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go to the mosque and lead a prayer for the defeat of the Kuffar.”

  10. chrislawson says


    I was going to make that reply as well. While there is debate about the historicity of Mohammed and the Quran, the evidence for his existence is overwhelming (as opposed to Jesus), the Quran was collected from existing texts only 20 years after Mohammed’s death (incorporating a lot of texts even older than Mohammed), and there are several contemporaneous records about the Muslim armies from non-Muslim sources. So while there’s a lot of uncertainty and room for interpretation, the idea that we “don’t have any idea” about Mohammed or his followers is too strong a statement.

  11. Afzal says

    How simplistic can people be?!

    Victory over qom al-kafirun is a quranic verse. Let’s have some editing of the quran now.
    remember those who pray chant numerously the first chapter of the quran’s ‘ghayr al-maghDub alahim wa la dalen’ – ‘not those on whom is your roth nor those who are astray.’

    so thanking people one minute, uttering vitupertive language the next. typical!

  12. Decker says

    I’ve known this for years. It’s the standard prayer actually. When Obama had his anti-extremist gabfest with various MB types at the White House a few weeks back, the proceedings opened and closed with a recitation of that prayer.

  13. Decker says

    It’s been nearly a month ago. I read it at several sources, but didn’t bookmark any of them. The prayer is standard fare

  14. says

    I’ve looked, and I don’t think you did read that at several sources. I think you’ve translated what you did read in your head.

    Here’s the story from CNS, for instance, a proudly right-wing site.

    It reports a prayer, but not that one. If that prayer had been recited, it’s hardly likely that CNS would fail to report it, is it.

    And actually, given that the prayer was in English, it’s not terribly likely that any news outlet would have ignored the Qawm al-Kafiroon one in English.

  15. says

    Think about it, Decker. You seem to have allowed your prejudices to change what you actually read about an event. Think about the implications for the rest of what you think you know.

  16. Decker says

    Perhaps you’re right Ophelia. I lack patience and tend to read articles on the ‘diagonal’ when rushed.

    One does wonder about that gabfest though. If the recent events in Paris were simply random acts of murder having nothing to do with Islam, then why were most of the participants Muslim?

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