What "Religion of Peace" Really Means


Malise Ruthven's book, A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America, seeks to understand the forces behind Islam's relentless encroachment. It is a difficult book to read, and yet parts of it clarified and illuminated Islam's prime directive better than anything I've ever read. And A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America is one of the very few books I've read that has no obvious ax to grind. Below are some selected quotes from the book:

As almost every account of Islam will explain, the word Islam (self-surrender) derives from the same root as salam (peace). In its self-definition Islam is primarily a "religion of peace." The problem consists not in the idea of peace as a good, but in the means deployed to achieve it. In the Quranic discourse, as in the legal formulations derived from the Quran and the Prophet's traditions, the very notion of peace is conditional on the acknowledgment of the Islamic idea of God.

The Quran implies that the world will be at peace when every person on Earth submits to the will of Allah (by force if necessary). In that sense, Islam is a religion of peace. Another quote from the book:

The jihad was integral to Islamic expansion. Understood as a political-military struggle, it provided the rationale for the Islamic imperium.

...Jihad, as is now widely known, means "struggle:" it has the same root as ijtihad, the interpretative "effort" needed to fathom the law as revealed by God and his Prophet. According to a well-known hadith, jihad is the "monasticism" of faith. "Every nation has its monasticism and the monasticism of this nation is the jihad." Muhammad disapproved of asceticism: there was to be "no monkery" in his community. Jihad held the place occupied by asceticism in early Christianity.

Ever since I read that, I've thought differently of jihad. If you are a devout person, if you want to please Allah and show him how much you worship Him, but you do not have the avenue of expression called asceticism, how can you demonstrate your devotion? Muhammad gave the answer: Jihad. Express it in action. Express it by striving mightily in the name of Allah, not just in your mind, but in the world. Advance Allah's cause by defending Islam, and by trying to make every country on earth follow the law of Allah. Work at it. Put your money where your faith is.

And one final quote from A Fury for God:

Modernity is seductive: Satan is a tempter, not a tyrant. Since Muslim cultures tend to draw boundaries around social behavior, emphasizing external rather than internal moral constraints, governments — or more pervasively "the West" — are blamed for the availability of temptations. Imported American dramas such as Dallas, Knott's Landing and Falcon Crest, showing human behavior in situations dominated by lust, greed, and selfishness, are seen as undermining the Muslim family by introducing aspirations towards materialism and sexual immorality.

I thought that was interesting. In the West, because we hold liberty as a fundamental value, we think of morality as something we exercise personally, from within.

Islam is more oriented toward controlling the environment — essentially to limit temptations — in order to impose morality (or strengthen it) from outside. In that sense, then, a free society is incompatible with the strict application of Islam. An Islamic-style moral life would require an Islamic state, or at the very least, the kind of isolated or enclosed community the Amish have. (This may explain, at least in part, why the mosque Nonie Darwish attended encouraged American Muslims to stay isolated from the infidel American culture.)

Islamic fundamentalists see the establishment of Islamic law as a moral duty. It creates an environment where everyone can be moral, and where infidels cannot infect the Muslims with their immoral example. The Islamic vision is very much like the Pleasantville fantasy-perfect world, but the achievement of the vision requires the removal of so many liberties it becomes a repressive totalitarian state.

Anyway, I recommend Malise Ruthven's book, A Fury for God. It is a valuable contribution to the greater conversation about how to reverse the trend toward global jihad.


Damien 4:40 PM  


I agree, they are barbarians and the barbarians are at the gate. We can't fail or the western world along with its liberty and prosperity will be nothing more than a fading memory, if it is remembered at all.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Good article CW as always.

Good post Najistani - especially the humiliation method, sexual predation in particular, to subjugate Infidels.

Most Westerners just do not get it ... they do not believe that it can be as primal as this.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Being born in the West and seeing the growth of Islam within Western society and civilisation, I have to say that this is incredibly ridiculous article with an attitude that stems from an entire misunderstanding of the religion that the West is 'afraid' of due to the various sources from which the average person derives their knowledge of the faith.

It is an entire misconception to take Islam out of context.

My first qualm is with this website’s use of the word ‘KAFIR’ – it comes from the root ‘kfr’ – ‘to disbelieve’. However, at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, it was not used to refer to the Christians or Jews or anyone who carried out good-deeds, rather the pagan Meccans (especially) who cheated pilgrims, merchants and indulged in prostitution as a luxury, frivolously spending money whilst many poor people roamed the streets being manipulated by the rich. Thus, the word ‘KAFIR’ does NOT refer to a Christian or Jew or even Buddhist or Hindu etc, rather someone who intentionally carries out a deed knowing full well that it is wrong, and denying the existence of a Higher Being. It only takes people to look at verses in the Qur’an such as Surat al-Baqarah (2:62) –
‘O those of you who believe (in the scriptures of the Jews) and the Christians and the Sabians – and any who believe in God and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have reward with their Lord; and for them, there will be no fear nor shall they grieve’.

However, I do not deny that fundamentalism is now more prominent within Islam - however, one must not forget how other religions have manifested themselves as well.

The Middle Ages in Europe were (if you look at Christianity at that time) not the best times to live in - Christianity was anti-Jewish and held such beliefs as witchcraft and exorcism. The monarch would use the religion as a weapon and a patriarchy was emphasised through verses such as in 1 Corinthians, and even later on through people like Saint Augustine of Hippo and (much later) Calvin and Luther.

However, the West has developed a paradigm that has allowed change with the use of Enlightenment thinking and we find that the Utilitarian concepts of Mill and Bentham play prominent parts of our social lives, to the extent now that political factions within, say, the UK say there is social collapse without religion.

However, how many people actually study the Islamic rule of Spain and the Mediterranean – how many people are actually aware that Sicily was ruled by Muslims for over 600 years, and Spain for longer? The Muslims defeated the Visigoths (who were destroying the former Graeco-Roman culture that flourished) with the help of the Christian general of Carthage who allowed them safe passage across to Western Europe.

A Golden Age flourished for CHRISTIANS and JEWS. One must remember that during the Middle Ages, any pagan form of knowledge (and this included much of the knowledge that was used and reformed during the Renaissance such as Aristotle and Plato, Greek philosophy as well as the Classical epics such as the Odyssey, the Iliad and anything else that was seen as a ‘threat’ to the Vatican Christianity of the time) was destroyed, the vast library of Alexandria protected by the conquest of the Muslims. Many of those lands that the Muslims conquered converted peacefully, even to the extent that many allowed the Muslims to pass through to the Patriarchal Cities of Damascus and Antioch.

However, this is a purely historical view. If you take a modern view, much of the Islamic fundamentalism we see is actually a long-term response to Colonialism and a sense of manipulation, especially in the Middle East and Subcontinent. If you look at countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and North Africa, there is very little in terms of fundamentalism and we hear very little about these places in terms of religious tension.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

What is done wrong on the part of Muslims is that they are enflamed very quickly. They must also remember that there are limits to their being in Western civilisations and paradigms. In the Qur’an is it also written that ‘if you are a foreigner in someone else’s land, you must obey but carry out the will of your Lord as far as you can’.
Islam is not about missionary-work; it is merely trying to integrate itself into society. Islam is NOT a culture. It is a flexible religion.

I think that najistani (in my most humble opinion) is wrong to say that Islam specifically concentrates on the non-believers rather than its followers in the following ways:

1)The definition of ‘non-believer’ is taken grossly out of context.

2)Prior to the Enlightenment, Islam was the ruling and dominant civilised people, whose accomplishments in terms of science and medicine were envied (it only takes one to look at the origins of algebra and modern medicine such as that of Abul-Qasis to see how much the West has taken from Muslim civilisation).

3) Once those who are non-Muslims start referring to themselves as 'kuffars', they have fallen into the trap of fundamentalist Islam that wants the West to be in conflict with the religion.

4) Islam is not a political religion, however became one far quicker than Christianity did - it took more than 150 years for it to be adapted in the Byzantine Empire. Jesus did not preach political change but a re-working of the Jewish law, using the summaries (found in the Old Testament) of Deuteronomoy 6:4 (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind) and Leviticus 18:19 (Love your neighbour as yourself).

5) People should not confuse Islam with culture. The current Islam that is conveyed in the media is an Islam that is militant, but also requires Western thinking to function. Concepts of Weber and Dirkheim (in terms of institutionalisation and ritual) are employed in order to counter the Western paradigms of thinking.

If you look again historically - the Western, once dominated by the Christian laws remained Christian. But Jews were entirely manipulated and treated as second-class citizens, being denied employment etc. However, Islam, in its history, has come into contact with Christianity, Judaism (and recognises them as People of the Book), Zoroastrianism as well as Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in the Mughal Rule of India. It is only when Western imperialism became the dominant viewpoint that tensions between the West and East came to such loggerheads that, as Rudyard Kipling eloquently put it:

'O East is East, and West is West
And ne'er at the twain shall meet'
However, this was Kipling from his own perspective as part of the dominant, ruling class of India.

I thoroughly dislike najistani's point about Islam destroying the 'remnants of our culture'. Surely if they are remnants of the culture, they have been destroyed by those who built in the first place? Whilst in the US, religion is still a major influence, in Europe, it is losing momentum, not due to Islam but due to the secularisation that was foreseen by anthropologists such as Max Weber.

Also, to counter this: najistani says how Islam will destroy the sacred sites etc. BUT look at the earliest examples: Moorish Spain still allowed churches to flourish; after Saladin retook Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was consecrated and purified with rose-water (from historical sources) and Christians and Jews were allowed to worship freely in ALL Muslim societies.
In concern with jihad – jihad is a concept that is grossly manipulated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is actually the ‘inner battle of the soul and the conscience’, the ‘desires and knowing to do right’ – it is actually quite a Platonic concept, one which even 50, 60, 70 years ago was prominent amongst Enlightenment reformers.

gsw 12:20 AM  


Brilliant, really brilliant. Of course almost everything you have written is subjective (as in: oh, how much happier were those cott'n-pickin' slaves when they had the white man to think for 'em), and therefore inaccurate or irrelevant.

You see, what you totally forget to take into account is that Allah is a fantasy, invented to justify wholesale mayhem and slaughter - not to mention the slavery.

Insisting that Christianity is no better does not improve your argument. Of course all religions go/went through a period of power, during which they crushed people (literally). So perhaps we should just argue against theocracy?
And since islamic crusaders are currently trying to smuggle theocracy into our western, enlightened legal systems as a religious necessity, we should all fight theocracy.

The so-called Golden Ages never existed.
There was no technology, no decent medicine, no pension system, and no freedom (rather like islamic theologies are today).
Even Ancient Greece had its slaves.

Oh yes, and the Buddha Statutes? Unforgivable!

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on CitizenWarrior.com is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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