Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam."
Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.
I think most people who see this kind of thing are troubled by it. But it surprises me that more people do not ask what Allah and Islam have to do with mutilating corpses and hanging them like animal carcasses from a bridge. All the Muslims I know are Sunni Muslims (I’ve never met a Shi’ite or Sufi) and regard “Jihad” along similar lines of how Christians regard apologetics. Apparently a sizable crowd in Fallujah sees it differently.
As I understand the Qur’anic revelations, during the first period of Muhammad’s ministry in Mecca, prior to his flight to Medina, Muhammad is primarily a “warner” calling men to moral reform in recognition of their accountability to God. When his ministry was well received in Medina, and Muhammad secured his political power after consolidating numerous Arab clans in and around Medina (thereby ending blood feuds), the tenor of the Qur’anic revelations begins to change.
Qur’anic revelations during the “Medinan Period” endorsed Muhammad’s policy of raiding Meccan trade caravans, granting permission “[to fight] because they are wronged … [They are] those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right … except that they say ‘Our Lord is God’” (Sura 22:39-40). Later revelations would command, “Then fight in the cause of God, and know that God heareth and knoweth all things” (Sura 2:244). Supposedly because some were reluctant to take up arms, even later revelations offered incentives to those who fight (versus “those who sit at home and receive no hurt”) such as “special rewards” and entrance to Paradise (Suras 4:95-96; 3:194-195).
Muhammad’s military power quickly increased, and within a few years, he had succeeded in winning several battles and conquering Mecca. After Mecca’s fall to Muhammad, numerous Arabian tribes swore allegiance to him, while others were defeated by the Muslim armies. Heathen tribes were required to renounce paganism and profess Islam, often at the point of the scimitar (reminiscent of Constantine’s 3rd century behavior or that of the Crusaders – things few thinking Christians consider particularly “Christian”), while Jews and Christians could practice their own faiths, but were required to pay taxes and tributes.
It is interesting that, while the Qur’an teaches that the means to salvation are belief or faith (iman) and action (amal) – “To those who believe And do deeds of righteousness Hath God promised forgiveness And a great reward” (Sura 5:10) (“Belief” or iman includes (1) belief in the oneness of Allah, (2) belief in the prophecy of Muhammad, and (3) belief in life after death), there is no Qur’anic assurance of salvation in Islam that I’m aware of except when one fights in Jihad.
What responsibilities do Muslim leaders and laity have in publicly denouncing this behavior as contrary to the will of Allah as revealed in their holy books: the Qur’an, Tawrat (Torah) and Injil (Gospel)? Are they afraid? Are they denouncing it and not getting media attention? Or is such a public denunciation in some way inconsistent with Qur’anic revelation?