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Let’s Get Acquainted!

Introduction

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smoking room 1

Hello!

Before starting with the topic of Political Islam, which is quite controversial, I’d like to create a peaceful space where the readers and contributors can get to know and understand each other better. This space will be called the Smoking Room. Psychologists say communication in the Internet lacks a very important factor: the body language. We can’t see reach other’s posture and facial expression. This, together with the fact that participants of an Internet discussion hardly know each other, creates a tendency to perceive any statements in more negative light. So I think it’s good, before discussing some hot topics, simply to get to know each other.

Who Am I?

I was born in the county which doesn’t exist now, the USSR. I moved to Eastern Europe about 3 years ago. I am over 40 years old, I work as a freelance translator, I am married, I like travelling and reading science fiction and fantasy.

As to my views, I think there are no evil people, but there are people who are not very smart. They all want to be happy, but often do things that bring pain to others and themselves. And following harmful ideas can bring very bad results. However everyone, regardless race, gender, religion or whatever, has the same potential for developing and improving.

Am I biased in some ways? Yes, of course. Show me someone who is not. Anyone’s views are strongly influenced by the person’s background and life experience.

Am I able to change my views? Yes. For example, my worldview has changed quite a lot when I discovered that under the clothes all people are still naked:0).

Who Are You?

If you are reading these words, it means you, unlike 750 million people in the world, can read and write, unlike 60% of the world population, you have a computer and access to the Internet, and you also have free time for spending it here. Besides, if English is not your native language, then you know at least one foreign language.

So it seems we have quite a lot in common. We don’t have to agree with each other, the world would be very boring if everyone had the same ideas, but we can make an effort to understand each other’s point of view.

The Smoking Room Rules

Now I am going to impose some rules. But please, don’t worry: these rules will be applied to only one person – to myself. I promise to count to 10 before replying, to do my best trying to understand the other person, and react to any statement starting rather with “Yes” than with “No”, at least in my thoughts:0). I am going to abstain from arguing, and only ask questions trying to clarify things I don’t know or don’t understand. So whatever heated discussions we might have outside the Smoking Room, everyone is always welcome to come and sit here, have a cigar, a sip of cognac (or a glass of water if you are abstinent for whatever reasons), and relax chatting about whatever comes to your mind.

Life of Muhammad 21

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

CHAPTER 6 TROUBLE

5:95 Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and be on your guard. If you do turn back, know that our Messenger is only bound to deliver a plain announcement.

All of the clans of the Quraysh began to persecute those Muslims they had any power over. If Mohammed attacked them, they would at­tack him through his converts. One slave, Bilal (to become famous later), was physically abused. He was placed in the hot sun with a huge rock on his chest and told to deny Islam. He refused. This was repeated until Abu Bakr, a chief Muslim, took notice and asked how long the owner would abuse him. The owner said, “You are one of those who corrupted him. You save him.” So Abu Bakr offered to trade a stronger, black, Kafir slave for Bilal. Then Abu Bakr freed Bilal. Abu Bakr did this with six other Muslim slaves as well.

MIGRATION TO ETHIOPIA

Since the Quraysh were resisting Islam and being hard on the Mus­lims, Mohammed sent many of his followers to Ethiopia as the Christian king there was tolerant of their religion. Eighty or ninety Muslims left Arabia to cross the Red Sea to Ethiopia.

The Quraysh decided to send two men to Ethiopia to persuade the king to send the Arabs back to Mecca.

They took gifts of fine leather goods since leather work was prized there. They gave the leather work to the generals of the king’s army and told them, “Foolish people from our country have moved here. They have forsaken their religion and have not accepted yours. They have an invent­ed religion. Our nobles have sent us to see the king so that he will return these people to our country.” The generals agreed and went to the king to recommend he do as the Meccans had suggested. The king refused. To surrender someone to whom he had extended protection would violate his word, and his word was law and not to be changed.

I224 A member of the Abyssinian royalty, called the Negus, became con­vinced of the truth of Islam. He was accused by the Christians of leaving his religion. The Negus wrote on a piece of paper, “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. Jesus was a Muslim, born of Mary, conceived without a father.” He then pinned the statement under his shirt over his heart. [These are classical Islamic statements.] When the other Abyssinians accused the Negus of leaving Christianity and they said, “Je­sus was the Son of God.” The Negus placed his hand over his heart (and the paper with the statement) and told the Christians, “I testify that Je­sus was no more than this.” The Christians took him at his word and left him. When Mohammed heard this, he prayed for the Negus when he died. [This is a classical example of taqiyya, sacred deception.]

Life of Muhammad 20

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

MORE ARGUMENTS WITH THE MECCANS

Another group of Meccans sent for Mohammed to see if they could negotiate away this painful division of the tribes. They went over old ground and again Mohammed refused the money and power that were offered. He said they were the ones who needed to decide whether they wanted to suffer in the next world and he had the only solution. If they rejected him and his message, Allah would tend to them. One of the Quraysh said, “Well, if you speak for and represent the only true god, then perhaps this Allah could do something for us.”

“This land is dry. Let your Allah make us a river next to Mecca,” said another.

“We are cramped being next to the mountains. Let your Allah open up some space by moving the mountains back,” said another.

“Our best members are dead. Let your Allah restore them to life and, in particular, send back the best leader of our tribe, Qusayy. We will ask Qusayy whether or not you speak truly,” said another.

Mohammed said he was sent as a messenger, not to do such work. They could either accept his message or reject it and be subject to the loss. Then one of them said, “If you won’t use your Allah to help us, then let your Allah help you. Send an angel to confirm you and prove to us that we are wrong. As long as the angel is present, let him make a garden and fine home for you and present you all the gold and silver he could need. If you do this, we will know that you represent Allah and we are wrong.” The Quraysh wanted miracles as proof.

Mohammed replied that he would not do so because such things were not what Allah had appointed him to do.

Then one of the Quraysh said, “Then let the heavens be dropped on us in pieces as you say your Lord could do. If you do not, we will not believe.” Mohammed said Allah could do that if Allah wished or he might not if he wished not.

They then said, “Did not your Lord know that we would ask you these questions? Then your Lord could have prepared you with better answers. And your Lord could have told you what to tell us if we didn’t believe. We hear that you are getting this Koran from a man named Al Rahman from another town. We don’t believe in Al Rahman. Our con­science is clear. We must either destroy you or you must destroy us. Bring your angels and we will believe them.”

Mohammed turned and left. A cousin chased him and fell in beside him to talk. He said, “Mohammed, your tribe has made you propositions and you have rejected them. First, they asked you for things for them­selves that they might see if you are authentic. They would have followed you. You did nothing. Then they asked you for things for yourself so they could witness your superiority over them and prove your standing with Allah. You did nothing. Then they said to bring on the punishments that your Allah has threatened and with which you have frightened them. You did nothing. Personally, I will never believe until you get a ladder up to the sky and then climb it while I watch and four angels come and testify that you are truthful. But you know, even if you did all that, I still don’t know if I would believe you.”

Mohammed went home, sad and depressed. He had hoped they sent for him to announce their submission to Allah and his teachings. Instead, they had offered more resistance and questions.

Life of Muhammad 19

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

A TRIBAL CHIEF TRIES TO CUT A DEAL

I186 One day while the Quraysh were in council, one of the chiefs, Utba, offered to approach Mohammed to see if he could make a deal that would please everybody. Things were only getting worse, so the others agreed he should try. He went to the Kabah and found Mohammed. “Mohammed, you have come to us with an important matter, but you have divided the community, ridiculed our customs, and insulted our forefathers. See if any of my suggestions can help in this matter. If you want money, we will give you money. If you want honor, we will make you our king. If you are pos­sessed, we will get you a physician.”

I186 Mohammed said that he represented the only Allah, whose teach­ings were beautiful, and then he began to recite the glorious poetry and imagery of the Koran. The tribal chief was impressed with the beauty of Mohammed’s words and left.

I186 When Utba returned to the Quraysh, he said, “Leave Mohammed alone; his words are beautiful. If other Arabs kill him, your problem is solved. If he becomes sovereign over all, you will share in his glory. His power will become your power and you can make money off his success.” They replied that Mohammed had bewitched him.

Life of Muhammad 18

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

THE STRONG MAN ACCEPTS ISLAM

I185 Hamza was the strongest and most stubborn man of the Quraysh and a great hunter. One day he returned from the hunt with his bow. It was his custom to go to the Kabah and to circumambulate the shrine before he went home. After he performed his rituals, he stopped and talked with the gathered Quraysh.

I186 Then, on the way home, he stopped to talk with a freedwoman of the Quraysh. She told him of the abuse that Mohammed had received from the Quraysh, in particular from Abu Umara. Now, Hamza had been thinking about becoming a Muslim and this was the tipping point. He rushed out in a rage to find Abu Umara, who was back at the Kabah. Ham­za charged him and struck him with his bow and bloodied his head. He challenged Abu Umara to try to get back at him and threatened him with greater harm if he ever insulted Mohammed again. Once Mohammed had the muscle of the tribe’s strongest man, he suffered less harassment.

Life of Muhammad 17

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

CHAPTER 5 ARGUING

4:80 Those who obey the Messenger obey Allah. As for those who turn away from you, We have not sent you to watch over them.

I183 Mohammed continued to preach the glory of Allah and condemn the Quraysh religion. He told them their way of life was stupid and insult­ed their ancestors, cursed their gods, mocked their religion, and divided the community, setting one tribesman against another. The Quraysh felt that this was all beyond bearing. Tolerance had always been their way: many clans, many gods, many religions. Another religion was fine; why did Mohammed demean the others?

I183 One day at the Kabah they were discussing Mohammed and his en­mity toward them when Mohammed arrived. He kissed the Black Stone of the Kabah and started past them as he circumambulated the Kabah. Each time he passed by them they insulted him. On the third round, he stopped and said, “Listen to me, by Allah I will bring you slaughter.” The Quraysh were stunned at his threat. They said, “Mohammed, you have never been a violent man. Go away.”

I184 The next day many of the Quraysh were at the Kabah when Mo­hammed arrived. They crowded around him and said, “Are you the one who condemned our gods and our religion?” Mohammed answered that he was the one. One of them grabbed him and Abu Bakr, Mohammed’s chief follower, pressed forward and said, “Would you kill a man for saying that Allah is his Lord?” They let him go. This was the worst treatment that Mohammed experienced.

Life of Muhammad 16

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

THE FAIR

Mecca was a town with two sources of money. The first was trading. Mohammed had made his money in the caravan trade. The other was fees from pilgrims to the shrine of the Kabah, and fairs combined a little of both. All the tribes came for a fair where people would see old acquain­tances and buy, sell, and trade goods. Since Mecca was one of several sacred or pilgrim sites, rituals for the different tribal gods were performed around the Kabah and Mecca.

I171 It was time for the fair and the Quraysh were in turmoil. They did not want the divisions and rancor that had come with Mohammed’s preaching not spread to the other clans outside Mecca. A group of con­cerned Quraysh talked and decided to meet with Al Walid, a man of respect and influence. He told them that all the visitors would come to them and ask about this man Mohammed and what he was preaching. It was a foregone conclusion that Mohammed would preach.

I171 But what could they agree on to tell the visitors so that there could be one voice. What would they call him? Was he possessed? Crazy? An ecstatic poet? A sorcerer? Who was he? What was he? Finally they agreed that Mohammed was a sorcerer since he separated a son from his father or brother or wife or other family.

I171 They split up and went out on the roadsides of town to speak with the travelers before they even got to Mecca.

I171 Mohammed delivered a message from Allah about Al Walid, the leader of the Kafirs:

74:11 Let me deal with my creations, whom I have given great riches and sons to sit by their side, and whose lives I have made smooth and comfort­able. And still he wants me to give him more. No, I say. He is an enemy of Our revelations. I will impose a dreadful punishment on him because he plotted and planned.

74:19 Damn him! How he planned. Again, Damn him! How he planned.

74:21 Then he looked around and frowned and scowled and turned his back with vain pride and said, “This is nothing but old magic; it is the work of a mere mortal.”

74:26 We will certainly throw him into Hell.

I172 The plan of hurting Mohammed by warning the visitors just made everyone more curious. When they heard Mohammed’s soaring words from the Koran, many visitors were impressed. When they left they took all the stories from Mecca, the Quraysh, the new Muslims, and, of course, Mohammed. Soon all of that part of Arabia was talking.

Life of Muhammad 15

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

Chapter 4 Public Preaching (Continued)

I167 When Mohammed spoke about his new religion, it did not cause any problems among the Meccans. After all, there were hundreds of reli­gions in Mecca; it was a polytheistic culture and very religiously tolerant. Then Mohammed began to condemn their religion and rituals and wor­ship. This was a new phenomenon. New religions could be added, and had been, but not to the detriment of others. The Meccans took offense and resolved to treat him as an enemy. Luckily, he had the protection of his influential uncle, Abu Talib.

I168 Some of the Quraysh went to Abu Talib and said to him, “Your nephew has cursed our gods, insulted our religion, mocked our way of life, criticized our civilization, attacked our virtues, and said our forefathers were ignorant and in error. You must stop him, or you must let us stop him. We will rid you of him.” Abu Talib gave them a soft reply and sent them away.

I168 Mohammed continued to preach his religion and condemn the other religions. His relationship with the Meccans continued to deterio­rate and men withdrew from him in dislike. He became the talk of Mecca and upset his tribe by saying the Quraysh’s ancestors were burning in Hell and that the Meccans were wrong. It was not just that he was right or had a different way or even a better way, but that they were wrong.

I168 Mohammed continued to preach Islam and his relations with his tribal kin grew worse and men drew away from him and his condemna­tion of who they were.

I168 Abu Talib called Mohammed to him and told him to spare him the burden of the pain of the Quraysh resentment. Mohammed told him that if they gave him the sun and the moon he would not change until Allah had made him victorious. Even if he died he would not quit. Abu Talib could not stand to censor his nephew and let him go with his consent.

I169 The Quraysh saw that Abu Talib would not help. Mohammed con­tinued to preach Islam and attack them and their lives. Mecca was a small town; everybody knew everybody else. Islam had split the town of Mecca and divided the ruling and priestly tribe. The Quraysh were attacked at the very ground of their social being.

I169 The Quraysh were desperate and approached Mohammed’s pro­tector with a desperate plane. “Here is our strongest and most handsome man. Adopt him for his intelligence and support. Give us Mohammed. He has opposed both your religion and ours, divided us as a people, and mocked us for who we are. Let us trade our best man for your Mohammed so we can kill him. Then it would be man for man. Fair and just.” Abu Talib would not give Mohammed up.

I170 Things got much worse. Now there was open hostility in the town. Quarrels increased; arguments got very heated. Complete disharmony dominated the town. The tribe started to abuse newly converted Muslims, but Mohammed’s uncle was a respected elder and was able to protect them from serious harm.