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Sections of the Koran presented out of context to prove a point

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Fri Feb 06, 2015

Editor: I am an aspiring Christian. I do not pretend to know everything about the Bible nor the Koran, but it is my unlearned view that Mr Shefflorn Ballantyne has selectively chosen and presented sections of the Koran to support his thesis that Islam is not a religion of peace.{{more}}

From Surat 8 – The Spoils of War, 8:12 says: [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.”

8:13 offers the context: That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger – indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

It is clear to my untutored mind that the Quran is speaking about Allah’s punishment to disbelievers through his angels and not man. The Old Testament is replete with similar examples; Sodom and Gomorrah spring to memory. It is also not dissimilar from 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, which says: God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed.

Surat 2 – The Cow, 2:216 says: Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.

2:217 says: They ask you about the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, “Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid al-Haram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah. And fitnah (burning in fire) is greater than killing.” And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire,they will abide therein eternally.

The two together speak about fighting to defend yourself against disbelievers who fight you in general and during the sacred month. It does not, in my humble view, call on Muslims to fight disbelievers to bring them to the faith.

Surat 9:29 says: Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Jizyah is said to be a poll tax paid by the non-Muslim population in the Arabian Caliphate and then in other Muslim states. I believe that the interpretation of “fight” is open to misuse by fundamentalists, but not necessarily a call to arms.

If I were to employ Mr Ballantyne’s modus operandus, we can say that through Psalm 144:1 (Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight) and Luke 22:36 (…and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one) that Christians are called to arm against unbelievers. Further, some may say that Mr Ballantyne should not subject his manhood to leadership by a woman in any organization in which he may acquire membership. They may use 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which says: Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Of course, that is a stretch. It is well known that all world religions, including Christianity, have been abused by man to fuel greed and vanity. I confess that I do not know much about the prophet Muhammad. Perhaps our Islamic brothers may shed light on his “sins,” within the context of the Christian outlook.

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