A Dialogue with a Westerner
"And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors" (Quran 2:190)
This is exactly what God Almighty has encouraged all Muslims in the Holy Koran to abide by and there is no true Muslim who hates to apply these entirely clear verses revealed to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him.
Any researcher in the science of the Arabic language will find that the word "Muslim" conveys the meaning of being peaceable, then we Muslims have to be peacemakers, and this is what each of us and our parents believed in and we grew up with such beliefs and educated our children to be so in the future.
My brothers and sisters! Muslims have been constantly exposed and subjected to a type of racial contempt and fanaticism from the West and here I do not mean everybody in the West because there are people who have demonstrated respect and displayed a subjective understanding of Islam and Muslims.
Some westerner has a stereotype image about Muslims in general and considers them as being terrorists. If there are few who are actually terrorists that doesn't mean in any way that all Muslims are terrorists. And it doesn't mean that there are no terrorists from other religions.
Some people call those Muslims who commit crimes as being terrorists, while you call non-Muslims who commit the same crimes other names less impressive than being terrorists, such as "gangs, street men, the mafia ..." Why? Anyone can answer to this because it seemed to me that their mind was set to this kind of stereotyping image about Muslims.
A Dialogue with westerner
Westerner started telling me some parts of verses and not the whole verses as if he was trying to manipulate with the real meaning of these holy verse of Quran to satisfy his evil purposes by telling everyone that Islam is not a religion of peace, but rather it is a religion that calls for war against any disbelievers of Allah. He has a preconception that Muslims like to kill anyone who doesn't believe in God or in Islam.
He does not know that we live in societies where we Muslims and other people from other religion have been living together peacefully for years and years until these days.
So he started reading part of the first verse which is verse 5 of the Repentance Chapter "Then kill the Mushrikûn (the polytheists) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush". He had chosen this part of the verse only, without completing the whole verse till the end and the whole verse says:
"Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (the polytheists) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful".
The polytheists meant in this verse are the ones with whom the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had a treaty at Al Hudiabeya. The term of this treaty will end in four months after the Day of Sacrifice (Al Nahr). So Allah has commanded His Messenger (PBUH) to fulfill the treaty to the end of their term. And thus it is not permissible to interpret the Quran without knowing the reasons for the descent or revelation of verses. Not only that, but let's read the following verse:
"And if anyone of the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur'an), and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not".
This verse means that Allah is saying to his Messenger, "In case there is anyone of the polytheists, whom I commanded you to fight, seeks protection from you, you have to grant it to him and let him hear the words of Allah (This is a command from God to his Messenger) then escort him to where he can be safe and secure or to his homeland that he wants. Now! Don't you see that the Qur'an calls for fulfilling and meeting the covenants and conventions even with our enemies? With all of such great teachings, and you still call Muslims to be advocates of war despite the historic fact that Muslims were betrayed by polytheists who has breached this above mentioned truce.
"Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah (Protection Tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued".
The westerner continued his argument by reading another verse from the same Chapter (Surah) that was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) who was ordered by God to fight the polytheists. The word "polytheists here mean the "Romans" .He added that this is a clear authorization from God to Muhammad and his companions to fight the Romans. This is an order from God to fight the Romans? And you Muslims keep saying that your religion calls for and guides to that which is most just and right?!
I replied that the historic event says that the king of the Roman and his allies have brought together a huge army to attack the new –born Islamic state before it becomes a threat to his state. I told him that he could have verified the validity and authenticity of this historic event if he had spent some time to examine and research. I advised him to be an honest seeker for the truth and not to be like the one who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilâh (god)?
Please don't take parts of a verse and disassociate it from the complete verse because surly you'll misinterpret the whole meaning of it. He gave an example of his misunderstanding by reading the last part of that verse which says "and feel themselves subdued." I explained to him what does that part mean by saying that it means: "and feel themselves subjugated. This means after their defeat by the will of God Almighty.
Unfortunately, the dialogue with this westerner didn't last but for a short time that I didn't feel I told him everything about all of this, but what I have said is enough for today. I told him that I hope that he will learn to know Islam as it was revealed to the Messenger (PBUH) and not as it was presented to him (the westerner) by others.
Prepared by Ayman Hafiz
Translated by Faisal Mahmoud