Inspired by a remark from Pat Condell in this video, I have proclaimed December to be Hatred and Violence in the Qur’an Awareness Month. After all, November was Islamophobia Awareness Month, and certainly the hatred and violence in the Qur’an kills many, many more people than “Islamophobia” ever has or ever will, and so it is far more deserving than “Islamophobia” of a month of its own.
We kicked off yesterday with a bit of hate from the Fatihah, and now here is more from Surat al-Baqara, the chapter of the cow, the second chapter of the Qur’an:
As for the unbelievers, alike it is to them whether thou hast warned them or hast not warned them, they do not believe. God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a covering, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement.And some men there are who say, ‘We believe in God and the Last Day’; but they are not believers. They would trick God and the believers, and only themselves they deceive, and they are not aware. In their hearts is a sickness, and God has increased their sickness, and there awaits them a painful chastisement for that they have cried lies. When it is said to them, ‘Do not corruption in the land’, they say, ‘We are only ones that put things right.’
Truly, they are the workers of corruption but they are not aware. When it is said to them, ‘Believe as the people believe’, they say, ‘Shall we believe, as fools believe?’ Truly, they are the foolish ones, but they do not know. When they meet those who believe, they say, ‘We believe’; but when they go privily to their Satans, they say, ‘We are with you; we were only mocking.’ God shall mock them, and shall lead them on blindly wandering in their insolence.
Those are they that have bought error at the price of guidance, and their commerce has not profited them, and they are not right-guided. The likeness of them is as the likeness of a man who kindled a fire, and when it lit all about him God took away their light, and left them in darkness unseeing, deaf, dumb, blind — so they shall not return; or as a cloudburst out of heaven in which is darkness, and thunder, and lightning — they put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death; and God encompasses the unbelievers; the lightning wellnigh snatches away their sight; whensoever it gives them light, they walk in it, and when the darkness is over them, they halt; had God willed, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight. Truly, God is powerful over everything.
O you men, serve your Lord Who created you, and those that were before you; haply so you will be godfearing; who assigned to you the earth for a couch, and heaven for an edifice, and sent down out of heaven water, wherewith He brought forth fruits for your provision; so set not up compeers to God wittingly. And if you are in doubt concerning that We have sent down on Our servant, then bring a sura like it, and call your witnesses, apart from God, if you are truthful. And if you do not — and you will not — then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for unbelievers. (2:6-24)
This is an extended disquisition on the perversity of those who reject belief in Allah, tending to inculcate in the believer hatred and contempt for those who don’t believe. It asserts Allah’s absolute control over everything, even the choices of individual souls to believe in him or reject him: “As for the unbelievers, alike it is to them whether thou hast warned them or hast not warned them, they do not believe. God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a covering, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement” (vv. 6-7). The Qadaris of early Islamic history held that mankind had free will, and was thus capable of choosing to do good or evil. Their opponents maintained that Allah determined everything. While both sides had abundant Qur’anic citations to support their views, eventually Muslim authorities condemned Qadarism as a heresy, as it restricted Allah’s absolute sovereignty over all things. Thus those who reject faith do so because Allah wills it, as per these verses, not because they have free choice. Says the Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir: “These Ayat [verses] indicate that whomever Allah has written to be miserable, they shall never find anyone to guide them to happiness, and whomever Allah directs to misguidance, he shall never find anyone to guide him.” (A good brief overview of the Qadari controversy can be found in the renowned Islamic scholar Ignaz Goldziher’s Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law.)
Then comes a condemnation of hypocrites and false believers, who frequently bedeviled Muhammad during his career as a prophet. And finally there is the assertion of the sublimity of the Qur’an, such that doubters are challenged to produce a sura like it if they refuse to believe its divine provenance. Note that the challenge is framed as exposing that the unbelievers are lying: “if you be truthful” (v. 23).
So we have in this passage the ideas that Allah prevents the unbelievers from believing, and that they plot with demons against the believers (v. 14), and that they’re lying when they reject the Qur’an. Nor is there any counterbalancing passage enjoining believers to, say, love their enemies.
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