Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

17 July
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No god but God by Reza Aslan

Chapter 4

Fight in the Way of God

Page 79

Islam, it must be remembered, was born in an era of grand empires and global conquests, a time in which the Byzantines and Sasanians—both theocratic kingdoms—were locked in a permanent state religious war for territorial expansion. Despite the common misconception in the West, the Muslim conquerers did not force conversion upon the conquered peoples; indeed they did not even encourage it. With the exception of of a few remarkable men and women, no Jew, Christian, Zooroastrian, or Muslim of this time would have considered his or her religion to be rooted in the personal confessional experiences of individuals. Quite the contrary, your religion was your ethnicity, your culture, and your social identity; it defined your politics, your economics, and your ethics. More than anything else your religion was your citizenship. In fact the term ‘holy war’ comes not from Islam but from the Christian Crusaders, who first used it to give theological legitimacy to what was, in reality a battle for land and trade routes. Holy War was not a term used by Muslim conquerers, and is in no way a proper definition of the word jihad.

Pg 81

The word jihad literally means:

  • a struggle
  • a striving
  • a great effort

The lesser jihad is actually about military conflict and the greater jihad implies the internal struggle of man too come to terms with the law of god (who was really a group of men.)

Pg 85

Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) influence in shaping Muslim ideology is matchups he’d only by St Augustine’s influence in shaping Christianity. The Quran commands believers to say to those that do not believe: To you your religion, to me mine.” (109:6)

Jews lived side-by-side with Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula after Mohammad’s death.

Page 95

Jews were disinclined to discuss their faith in public or to proselytize. Even during their most oppressive rule Muhammad considered his message to be a continuation of of the Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition. To facilitate the acceptance from the Jews of Medina Muhammad had connected his community to theirs and felt that his message was a continuation of theirs by adopting Jewish rituals and practices. The Jews rejected him, to his surprise, but also strenuously argued against the authenticity of the Quran as divine revelation. Worried that the rejection of the Jews would somehow discredit his prophetic claims, Muhammad had no choice but to turn violently against them, separate his community from theirs, and refashion Islam as an alternative to Judaism.

 

 

 

 
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