Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad: "cast fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies"

Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad
(Image from Memri Blog)

The very useful Memri folks who translate statements made by Islamists have provided a clip with English subtitles (as well as a transcript) of the statements in an interview uttered by a professor of Islamic law at Al-Imam University in Riyadh, Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad, expressing hardline opinions concerning -- among other topics -- the owners of 'liberal' Saudi television channels, e.g., Al-Walid bin Talal. He maintains that they "should be tried in an Islamic court of law and sentenced to death."

When challenged by the interviewer, who insisted that "Islam is a religion of tolerance and leniency," Al-Ahmad retorted:
Allah says otherwise. Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: "Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies and of your own." Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death -- this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.
Al-Ahmad seems to be citing the Qur'an, "Al-Anfal" 8:58-59:
58 Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them). 59 Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. (Yusuf Ali Translation)
The sura "Al-Anfal" is understood as referring generally to the spoils of war, but from Al-Ahmad's interpretation -- and, indeed, from the above verses -- "war" would appear to be quite broadly defined.

Be that as it may, Al-Ahmad's remark on the necessity of carrying out Allah's decrees no matter what we might think about them suggest that he is of the opinion that Allah could order anything at all, no matter how cruel, and we would be compelled to carry it out or face the consequences -- a position remarkably similar in principle to that expressed by Ibn Hazm, who held that "God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry" (Pope Benedict XVI, "Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections," September 12, 2006).

The Pope admits that Christians have sometimes construed God in nearly Islamic terms as pure will -- and I think that Prostestants are more guilty of this than Catholics -- but the mainstream of Christian thought has emphasized faith and reason, such that God's will is not entirely inscrutable, for God is essentially rational.

That would appear to be missing in Al-Ahmad's theology, but I await further enlightenment.

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At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the radical Islamic rule is: "Kill the infidels."
And even "Kill other Islamists who don't follow us completely."

My understanding is that when Islam spread in the middle ages, there were some who were permitted to live, under certain restrictions without becoming Moslems, particularly the Jews in Spain.

What is your perspective?


At 5:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Islam has traditionally 'tolerated' Christians and Jews, but the pressure of being restricted in the practice of Christianity and Judaism and of being restricted in their rights as non-Muslims -- along with the 'infidel tax', various humiliations, and the occasional massacre -- led to the demise of Christian and Jewish communities over time.

Good point about the radical Islamic rule.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:18 AM, Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

It's only a tiny minority of radical Muslims who want to slaughter infidels. The vast majority simply wish to scold us for noticing.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, this entire blog post on the good sheikh is Islamophobic, and I could get scolded for it . . . as has sometimes happened.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The period of the moderate treatment of Spanish Jews by the Islamists lasted from about AD 921until AD 1066, after the Umayyad dynasty crumbled.
With the rise of the Christian reconquest of that area, Jewish persecutions began.

Chiam Potok: WANDERINGS, C. 1978. New York: Ballantine Books, div.of Random House, Inc, pp 339-357, from the chapter ISLAM, pp. 323-368.

There comes a time when we must give credit when it is due to the Islamic rule.


At 11:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

In Medieval terms, Islam was relatively tolerant, but from my admittedly cursory reading, I find that the tolerance has often been exaggerated.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:11 PM, Blogger Jay Kactuz said...

No, No, NO.

Regarding Islam in the middle ages the only accurate statement is that, at times, much of the time even, Islam was less intolerant than Chrisendom. It was never tolerant in the modern sense. Christians and Jews were at best second class citizens (or maybe third-class, after women). Hindus and others suffered even more. The Muslims practically exterminated the Buddhists West of the Ganges.

I refer you to Maimondes - easily the most famous Jew of the middle ages. In his letter to the persecuted Jews of Yemen he says, refering to Muslims, that "no race has done more our harm to our people" Note that the Rambam and family left Islamic Spain soon after the 1066 massacre of Jews in Granada, went to Morroco, left there because of local hostility and finally ended up as Saladin's doctor.

I have some experience with Muslims and the news is not good. Their values are not those of the West. They don't believe in equality, freedom of speech or religion and separation of church and mosque.

There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. The difference is that the radicals kill while the moderates make excuses.

Another thing - 99% of Muslims don't know Islam, or want to pretend that the Quran and ahadeeth don't say what they clearly say.

Just for the reference, please note a typical dialogue with a so-called moderate, knowledgeable Muslim:


See my comments on page 7 and beyond. The fact is that Muslims see Islam as what they want it to be, not what it is, or even what the Quran and traditions say.

The future will not be nice.


At 1:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jay, we agree on many points, but let me note something about two statements of yours:

"There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. The difference is that the radicals kill while the moderates make excuses."

"Another thing - 99% of Muslims don't know Islam, or want to pretend that the Quran and ahadeeth don't say what they clearly say."

Your first statement excludes the possibility of moderate Muslims, but your second statement implies that there are moderate Muslims, precisely those who find some Islamic texts and teachings to be embarrassing.

As Muslims grow more aware of these problems, we may see greater splits between moderates and radicals within the Muslim world -- possibly even large-scale apostasy, some of which is already taking place, I might note. Perhaps things are not so hopeless as you fear.

By the way, I think that you meant not "separation of church and mosque" but "separation of mosque and state."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:26 AM, Blogger Jay Kactuz said...

Yes there is a little logical overlap in the two statements, but the Muslims who find some Islamic texts and teachings to be embarrassing (your words) are few and far between and even so will make excuses.

Church and mosque... Ok you got me there!

Yes, professor, you are right. My position is extreme, but it is the result of my experience.

With very few exceptions, my conversations with Muslims have been less than satisfactory when it comes to what I call the 'hard' issues. Muslims, even so-called moderate Muslims, refuse to admit that verses which clearly teach hate and violence do in fact teach hate and violence. They make excuses like "out of context", "bad translation", "that was then", "others did it too" and about 50 other excuses. So what am I to believe when a Muslim tells me words don't mean they say? It is like Graucho said: "who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes"?

With the ahadith it is even worse. Never have I found a Muslim that will accept the stories in the traditions as they are written. The always mention the ahadith but they distort and edit them always. And how can they be honest? In simple terms, the traditions are about a smart man that announced he had a revelation from god, preached it, asked others to accept his religion, attacked those who didn't and gradually extended his influence and power to most of ancient Arabia by the time of his death. The hadiths are about raid after raid after battle after battle. There are stories of murder, conquest, plunder, enslavement of men women and children, rape of captives, lies, torture, wife abuse and much more. If you accept the traditions as basically true (one of two theories) then these show Mohammad to be a smart man, good leader, cunning strategist and warrior, and even with a sense of humor. He appears to have cared more for power and women than simple riches. In a few words, that is a fair summary of Islamic traditions. Islam's prophet attacked and killed, murdered and enslaved, plundered and raped, and so on. Was he any worse than other leaders of his day? Probably not. In case you don't know, the Quran has a bunch of special privileges Mohammad put in for himself. Isn't that suspicious?

The life of Mohammad by itself is irrelevant today, except that Muslims love and respect him and consider him a great moral example, which he was not, at least in modern Western terms. Worse yet, Muslims, even when you show them what the hadith actually about his actions, refuse to be honest. They may even threaten violence.

Be very sure that I can give multiple references in multiple hadith to any of these things. The last few chapters of the Muslim's hadith are nothing but a list of raids undertaken by Mohammad, each of which brought pain, suffering and death to villages nearby. Bukhari's ahadith are even worse.

For these reasons I consider the "moderate Muslim" to be in the same category as the chupacabra and Lock Ness Monster. I refuse to believe that people who say "praise be unto him" after the name of a man that raided, murdered, enslaved, tortured and raped -- even when given specific references to these events written by friends and followers of their prophet -- deserve to be called "moderates". Or let me put it in other terms: where are all the moderates in Islamic societies? Have they ended the apostasy laws? Do they accept freedom of speech and religion? Do they accept separation of Mosque and state? So, why should I believe that Muslims in the west are different from their brothers in Islam-controlled societies?

Well, that is just my opinion, anyway, but I have no problem in defending it in a debate.

I know that the academic world does not like this kind of talk, even in Asia. You may want to delete this posting (Don't worry I have been deleted hundreds of times). I don't want to get you into trouble (as you yourself mentioned).

I do enjoy your postings - makes me think about great literature - something I don't do enough.

Take care.


At 5:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jay, I'm familiar with the writings that you refer to -- though you seem to be better read in them than I -- and I share much of your opinion.

My point was that the reactions of many Muslims to these writings reveal cognitive dissonance. They don't want to believe that these 'sacred' writings really say what they seem to say. Hence the anger that you've experienced. I've encountered similar hostility on this blog from Muslims who have taken offense at some of the things that I've commented on about Islamic writings.

Cognitive dissonance often vents itself as hostility, but individuals can change from the experience because the dissonance doesn't dissipate for very long simply though hostility.

I've read biographical reports by Muslims who initially reacted with anger at being confronted with the hadith but who eventually turned from the Islam that they hadn't known -- some of them to other religions, some to secular beliefs. You've probably read some of these as well.

Briefly put, the cognitive dissonance reveals the 'inner moderate' of many Muslims, for they apparently wish to reject hadith that they are obviously supposed to believe.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:14 PM, Blogger Kayzee89 said...

Islam.....by itself means PEACE....You people out here are commenting on the extremism set up by Islam - which is clearly not the case. Both the world wars, the Afghanistan war, Iraq war & various other wars were conducted by the so called DEMOCRATIC western world.
Let's admit it guys, its not about religion...it has always been about self-benefits what the Muslims & other people of this world has followed. Why don't you remember the times when the Christian & Jewish emissaries MASSACRED & forcefully CONVERTED thousands of people to Christianity just so that there can be more followers in this world. (e.g. the conversion in latin america - where natives were annihilated from the face of the earth.). Kindly go back & read about the history. The Islamic civilization was the only one to give WOMEN * slaves their full rights where as the west lived barbarically !. The only pity on us, the Muslims, is that...we used to be the cradle of knowledge & civilization, whereas now we are just a bunch of illiterate, wild, deprived and people living below the poverty line. The factors of financial * self-actualization have lead us to follow a more WILDER * EXTREME path...thanks to the WEST for colonizing & ruling on us for so many years & ravaging our gems of the civilization.
So please dont judge religions on the basis of the acts of its FOLLOWERS....judge it by the holy scriptures itself.
And yes, the people of Arabia are one of the most wildest of people living on the face of this earth, which is why ISLAM came to guide them. And it guided them to such an extent that they ruled on the world for 1400 YEARS.....not just by sword, but by knowledge & science too !...kindly read about the Muslim golden era !

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Khizer, "Islam" means "submission," not "peace."

I don't think that anyone here would deny that the West and Christians have also been violent.

But that doesn't preclude the need to analyze Islamist violence and Islamist legitimation of that violence.

At any rate, I think that you need to take some time to write carefully and proofread what you post, e.g.:

"Jewish emissaries MASSACRED & forcefully CONVERTED thousands of people to Christianity"

Where do you find evidence that Jews forcibly converted anyone to Christianity?


"The Islamic civilization was the only one to give WOMEN * slaves their full rights where as the west lived barbarically!"

I'm not sure what you want to say here, but neither women nor slaves have full, equal rights according to Shariah.

As for the Muslim Golden Era, such as it was, it flourished when the Islamic Empire was a multicultural realm in which non-Muslims could contribute to knowledge. The increasing Islamization of Muslim-controlled territory proved hostile to secular knowledge.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This man is not worth worrying about, he doesn't deserve any attention. He is a moron and as a Muslim my self I consider him someone who is a laughing stock and a fool. The more attention these idiots get the bigger their egos! Ignore him God will deal with idiots like this.

At 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Islam does not mean PEACE, Islam means submission to God, the hadiths are forbidden in the Quran and only sunni Muslims really follow hadiths, not every Muslim follows the fabricated doctrine of the hadiths and sunnah.

I my self have never read one because I can fully understand the Quran without them. Arabic is also NOT necessary to understand the Quran.

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Kayzee89 said...

Well, Mr. Horace.....It was indeed a MISTAKE by me that I put JEWS on the allegation pointed out at Christians. It was merely a typing mistake. But we all know what JEWS did and are still doing to the world whether to Christians or Jews.
Secondly, my friend...Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salama": meaning peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. Its almost same as SHALAAM from sister, ARAMAIC language.
Thirdly, you yourself have admitted to the fact that it was permissible & allowed for a non-believer to contribute to the Islamic society which shows that the PAS Muslims were more OPEN & broad minded unlike NOWADAYS. It's just that today, Muslims lack KNOWLEDGE, power & wealth which is why they are manhandled easily.
Fourthly, Mr. Jeffrey....Women & slaves enjoy more rights & freedom in Islam. In fact it is the only religion which speaks about their rights. Women of Islam are respected & protected unlike the west, who portrays them as mere OBJECTS of sexual satisfaction. People like you base your facts on the BIASED & deceiving media coverage done by your PRO-GOVERNMENT TV channels. The only problem with us, MUSLIMS, is that the cultures Islam came to are one of the most BACKWARD & wildest of cultures which possess acts like HONOR KILLINGS, SEGREGATION OF WOMEN & MALE DOMINATION. These are all belongings of our insane CULTURES & pre-Islamic PAGAN traditions, which we are still countering in the world of today. If you really want to know about the PROPER Islam, then kindly go through this:

Thanks for your precious time & dedication towards this topic. I would definitely like to hear from you. You seem like interesting candidate to talk on Islam.
Hope you don't take anything PERSONALLY, because this is just a debate & we all are trying to prove our opinions & views.

At 5:30 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Mind, Body, Soul, I assume that you're referring to Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad. Thanks for the comment. The man may be an idiot, but idiots can be dangerous, so we have to pay some attention.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Khizer, thanks for the comments.

I can't agree, however, that "Women of Islam are respected & protected unlike the west, who portrays them as mere OBJECTS of sexual satisfaction."

The West does not portray women "as mere OBJECTS of sexual satisfaction." Your statement about the West is very broad and unnuanced.

Also, concerning an earlier statement of yours:

"The Islamic civilization was the only one to give WOMEN * slaves their full rights where as the west lived barbarically."

How do you know that the West was barbaric? Have you studied history carefully on this point?


"Women & slaves enjoy more rights & freedom in Islam. In fact it is the only religion which speaks about their rights."

By saying that women and slaves in Islam enjoy more rights and freedom, I'm not sure what you mean. More rights and freedom in Islam than in other religions? How do you know that this is true? Have you compared Islamic writings on these topics to the writings in other religions?

In my opinion, you are prone to making rather broad generalizations about the superiority of Islam and the degradation of the West.

I appreciate your generally cordial tone, however.

Thanks again for the comments.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:38 AM, Blogger Kayzee89 said...

Hello, Mr. Horace.
Nice to hear back from you.
Well, for your kind info, I am a 22 years old student of business administration who have been studying about history since I was 7 Years old, when kids usually play games & indulge in other extra-curricular activities. I am also a student of comparative religion, so I study most of the famous religions of this world too.
Your first question was about , HOW DO I ACCUSE THE WEST OF BEING BARBARIC?. Well, you & I, both know that the west was in a pretty bad shape before the renaissance of FRANCE. It was during the medieval era only, that the west was popular for ruthlessness, degradation of women, inequality, social class discrimination. Acts like the WITCH-HUNTS & the SPANISH INQUISITION where many were mercilessly killed, were quite common in the West during those ages. Whereas on the other hand, Islamic empire was flourishing in science, knowledge, human rights and various other factors of creating a proper human civilization. If it was not for the secularists of the West, then perhaps the west would have been in a worse shape right now.
Muslims formed an empire based on unified faith whereas, Christianity further DIVIDED them into sects which is why the secularists gained support & secluded religion from state governance.
Secondly, we all know what the WEST did to the slaves of the new world ( the americas) & were doing until the late 1800s. At this point in time, on the other hand Islam came during way before that and gave the slaves EQUAL rights, which is why ISLAM's first caller to prayer was a BLACK slave named as BILAL(AS).
Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_slavery

And well, Islam DIGNIFIED the status of women which was lost & is still lost in this world. Jews & Christians both disrespected the very existence of women due to their respective holy scripture verses:
No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman.....Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die" (Ecclesiasticus 25:19,24).(for Jews)
And this is from Christianity's Saint Paul:
"As in all the congregations of the saints, 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." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)
"The birth of a daughter is a loss" (Ecclesiasticus 22:3).

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Kayzee89 said...

And now I quote verses from the Holy Quran of Islam which says:
" And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect" (30:21).
"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise-- For them all has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward" (33:35).

"The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil, they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise" (9:71).

"And their Lord answered them: Truly I will never cause to be lost the work of any of you, Be you a male or female, you are members one of another" (3:195).

"Whoever works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof, and whoever works a righteous deed -whether man or woman- and is a believer- such will enter the Garden of bliss" (40:40).

Mr.Horace, I could just go on & on with this topic. If you really want to debate on Islam then try & add me up on hotmail ID, (poizon_man89@hotmail.com), I would be glad to give you some guidance on Islam.
Trust me, Mr.Horace, its not MUSLIMS who treat women and other innocent people badly. It is our culture, the Pre-Islamic Arabs to pagan fire & Idol worshiping cultures of South Asia. Most of us Muslims are illiterate which is why we consider countries like SAUDI ARABIA ISLAMIC, whereas its all about their culture. I would love to inform you about some valuable knowledge on issues like HIJAB & Jihad. Please stay in touch.
Take Care
My Pro-western friend !

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Khizar, thanks for the reply. By 'barbarism', I thought that you were referring to a low level of culture. If you meant savagery, I think that we can find that everywhere.

My reading of history reveals a lot of darkness all around. Islam is also guilty of imperialism, and from what I've read, Muslims also engaged in the slaughter of enemies.

As for scriptures of the world, one can easily pick and choose, whether of the worst or of the best, to support one's point.

But again, thanks for the comments, which I'm a bit pressed for time to answer.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:44 PM, Blogger maria said...

Mr Hodges says <>, which is, simply, not true. There are millions of Christians in the Middle East, some of the oldest Christian communities. Occasional persecutions and massacres have occurred, of course, but there have been no "demise" (except for the Jews, who after the creation of the state of Israel went to live there). As for the restrictions in religious practice, non-Muslims were forbidden to practice proselytism, and had to pay a special tax (at least here, in Spain, during the Middle Ages). These has been thus for centuries, until our own times when intolerance and violence are getting extreme, in part thanks to "scholars" like Mr. Hodges, who spread misinformation and hatred under the appearance of "scholar knowledge"

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Maria states:

"Mr Hodges says <>, which is, simply, not true."

Something was left out, so I don't know what you're objecting to.

Anyway, there has been a radical decline in the numbers of Christians in Muslim lands, and the consequent likelihood of its demise. I'm surprised that you would insist on the contrary.

The restrictions were not limited to what you state. Christians were also forbidden to rebuild churches that had fallen into disrepair.

And we haven't even mentioned the original Muslim conquest.

In your view, however, everything was fine "until our own times when intolerance and violence are getting extreme, in part thanks to 'scholars' like Mr. Hodges, who spread misinformation and hatred under the appearance of 'scholar[ly] knowledge.'"

I have no idea what misinformation and hatred you are referring to in my post that would have driven Islamists to their radicalism. Please be specific when you make such claims, and give examples.

Jeffery Hodges

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