Is the Qur’an Hate Propaganda?

A Beslan massacre victim

What the Holiest Book of Islam Really says about Non-Muslims


Introduction
Why the Violence? Why the Indifference?

When Islamic terrorists massacred 186 children and 148 other non-Muslims on the morning of September 3rd, 2004 at a schoolhouse in Beslan, Russia, very few Muslims celebrated the high-profile event and some even took the time to denounce it. But, in a community renowned for its peevishness, there was very little passion over the routine slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam.

While rumors of a Qur’an desecration or a Muhammad cartoon bring out deadly protests, riots, arson and effigy-burnings, the mass murder of non-Muslims generally evokes yawns. In the six years following 9/11 more than 10,000 acts of deadly Islamic terrorism were perpetrated, yet all of them together fail to provoke the sort of outrage on the part of most Muslims that the mere mention of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo inspires.

This critical absence of moral perspective puzzles many Westerners, particularly those trying to reconcile this reality with the politically-correct assumption that Islam is like other religion. The Judeo-Christian tradition preaches universal love and unselfishness, so it is expected that the more devout Muslims would be the most peaceful and least dangerous… provided that Islam is based on the same principles.

But beneath the rosy assurances from Muslim apologists that Islam is about peace and tolerance lies a much darker reality that better explains the violence and deeply-rooted indifference. Quite simply, the Qur’an teaches hate.

Consider the elements that define hate speech:

  • Drawing a distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside it
  • Moral comparison based on this distinction
  • Devaluation or dehumanization of other groups and the insistence of personal superiority
  • The advocating of different standards of treatment based on identity group membership
  • A call to violence against members of other groups

Sadly, the Qur’an qualifies as hate speech on each count (despite the best intentions of many Muslims).

The holiest book of Islam draws the sharpest of distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims, lavishing praise on the former while condemning the latter. Far from teaching universal love, the Qur’an incessantly preaches the inferiority of non-Muslims, even comparing them to vile animals and gloating over Allah’s hatred of them and the dark plans for their eternal torture. Naturally, the harsh treatment of non-believers by Muslims is encouraged as well.

What does the Qur’an, believed by Muslims to be the literal and eternal word of Allah, really say about non-Muslims?

The Qur’an Distinguishes Muslims from Non-Muslims
and Establishes a Hierarchy of Relative Worth

The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood, but about the brotherhood of believers:

The Believers are but a single Brotherhood (49:10)

Not all men are equal under Islam. Slaves and the handicapped are not equal to healthy free men, for example (16:75-76). The Qur’an introduces the “Law of Equality,” which establishes different levels of human value when considering certain matters, such as restitution for murder (2:178).

With regard to Islam, the Qur’an tells Muslims that they are a favored race, while those of other religions are “perverted transgressors”:

Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)

As we shall see later, Allah condemns non-Muslims to Hell based merely on their unbelief, while believers are rewarded with the finest earthly comforts in the hereafter, including never-ending food, wine and sex (56:12-40). In fact, much of the Qur’an is devoted to distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and impugning the latter.

The first sura of the Qur’an is an example of this. It is a short prayer that is repeated by devout Muslims each day and ends with these words:

Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray. (1:6-7)

Muhammad was once asked if these words pertained to Jews and Christians. His response was, “Whom else?” (Bukhari 56:662).

Since Allah makes such a strong distinction between Muslims and those outside the faith, it is only natural that Muslims should incorporate disparate standards of treatment into their daily lives. The Qur’an tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidel:

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (48:29)

Allah intends for Muslims to triumph over believers:

And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers [Pickthall – “any way of success”] (4:141)

The only acceptable position of non-Muslims to Muslims is subjugation under Islamic rule:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29 Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in a pure Islamic state.)

A common criticism of many Muslims is that they often behave arrogantly toward others. Now you know why.

The Qur’an Dehumanizes Non-Muslims
and Says that They are Vile Animals

The Qur’an dehumanizes non-Muslims, describing them as “animals” and beasts:

Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. (98:6)

Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55)

Verse 5:60 even says that Allah transformed Jews of the past into apes and pigs. Verse 2:65 continues the theme.

Verse 7:176 compares unbelievers to “panting dogs” with regard to their idiocy and worthlessness.

A hadith says that Muhammad believed rats to be “mutated Jews” (Bukhari 54:524, also confirmed by Sahih Muslim 7135 and 7136).

Verses 46:29-35 even say that unbelieving men are worse than demons who believe in Muhammad.

The Qur’an Says that Allah does NOT love unbelievers

Christianity teaches that God loves all men, but hates sin. The Qur’an never says this. Instead it explicitly states that Allah does not love those who do not believe in him:

For He loves not those who reject Faith (30:45)

Allah only loves those who obey Muhammad (at least according to Muhammad):

Say: “Obey Allah and His Messenger”: But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith. (3:32)

Whereas Christianity teaches that God loves the sinner, but hates sin, the god of Islam’s wrath is squarely on the person:

Surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful. (22:38)

Verses 11:118-199 say that Allah does not bestow mercy on everyone. For this reason, he chooses not to guide some people:

And Allah’s is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (16:9)

For those whom Allah does not love, there will be the most terrible of eternal torments:

Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (4:56)

As we shall see, Allah hates unbelievers so much that he even leads them into sinning and actively prevents them from believing in him, thus ensuring their fate.

The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims are
Destined for Eternal Torture in Hell

Although nowhere does the Qur’an say that Allah loves those who don’t believe Muhammad, there are over 400 verses that describe the torment that he has prepared for people of other religions (or no religion):

And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers (3:85)

The relative worth of non-Muslims is that they are but fuel for the fire of Hell:

(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire (3:10)

As they are fueling the fire, unbelievers will be tormented by Allah’s angels on his command:

“O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded.” (66:6)

It doesn’t matter how many good deeds an unbeliever does, because they count for nothing with Allah:

The parable of those who reject their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a tempestuous day: No power have they over aught that they have earned (14:18)

Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest. (18:103-106)

Muhammad told his people that anyone who rejects his claim to be a prophet will go to Hell:

Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and (those who) desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: ‘We believe in some and disbelieve in others’, and desire to take a course between (this and) that. These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement. And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them– Allah will grant them their rewards (4:150-152)

In Christianity, punishment in the hereafter is directly tied to sin and ‘wickedness.’ There is relatively little said about Hell, but the emphasis is on personal suffering for selfish or cruel deeds. In Islam, Hell is a punishment for merely not believing Muhammad’s personal claims about himself. In contrast to the Bible, every 12th verse of the Qur’an speaks of Hell and vividly describes Allah’s wrath on unbelievers:

But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning. (22:19-22)

No one could torture a person in this way without hating them intensely. Neither can Allah’s intense loathing for unbelievers help but affect the Muslim attitude toward those outside the faith.

The personal superiority of Muslims is confirmed by the contrasting picture painted in so many places in the Qur’an in which they are rewarded with the greatest of earthly comforts in heaven, while the unbelievers concurrently suffer horrible torment (see Sura 56 for just one example).

Allah Himself Prevents Non-Muslims from Understanding

It would make no sense if Allah gave the people that he hates an opportunity to avoid his wrath. The Qur’an says that Allah deliberately puts obstacles in the way of unbelievers to keep them from accepting the truth:

If Allah wished, he could provide guidance to every soul:

If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance (32:13)

But, instead he sets a veil over the hearts and coverings over their ears:

Verily We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this, and over their ears, deafness, if thou callest them to guidance, even then will they never accept guidance. (18:57) – See also 17:46 & 45:23

Allah even uses chains and barriers to prevent unbelievers from believing:

Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe. Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft. And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see. And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe. (36:7-10)

For the same purpose, Allah also fills the hearts of unbelievers with doubt:

No soul can believe, except by the will of Allah, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand (10:100)

Allah Actually Causes Non-Muslims to Sin

Not content with merely preventing unbelievers from knowing the truth (which is enough to condemn them to Hell) the Qur’an says that a hateful Allah also causes unbelievers to commit the very sin that He will later punish them for:

And if Allah please He would certainly make you a single nation, but He causes to err whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases; and most certainly you will be questioned as to what you did (16:93)

Although Satan tempts Muslims, it is Allah himself who causes unbelievers to err.

…and whomsoever Allah causes to err, you shall not find a way for him. (4:143)

Allah intentionally sends the people that he hates astray:

…and Allah sendeth him astray purposely, and sealeth up his hearing and his heart, and setteth on his sight a covering? Then who will lead him after Allah (hath condemned him)? Will ye not then heed? (45:23)

Allah even sends demons to inspire unbelievers to commit further bad deeds (that He can later hold against them):

See thou not that We have set the Evil Ones on against the unbelievers, to incite them with fury? (19:83)

Allah tricks unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good deeds, when, in fact, they are merely deepening their own eternal punishment with bad deeds:

As to those who do not believe in the hereafter, We have surely made their deeds fair-seeming to them, but they blindly wander on. (27:4) See also 39:23, 6:39, 35:8, 13:27 & 14:4)

Allah recruits Satan to join Him into fooling unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good:

On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. (6:43)

The joke is on non-Muslims, of course, who will protest on Judgment Day that they did everything they thought was right – but are sent to Hell anyway:

Then would they offer submission (with the pretence), “We did no evil (knowingly).” (The angels will reply), “Nay, but verily Allah knows all that ye did; “So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. (16:28-29)

The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims Should Not be Taken as Friends

Given that Allah hates non-Muslims to the extent that he would prevent them from knowing the truth, cause them to err and then condemn them to eternal torture for their unbelief and misdeeds, it would make little sense if he intended Muslims to treat unbelievers by the same standards that they treat each other here on earth.

The Qur’an says that no true Muslim would ever love anyone who resists Islam, even if it is a family member:

Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. (58:22)

There are at least nine places in the Qur’an where believers are warned not to befriend non-Muslims:

O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves? (4:144)

In fact, anyone who does take a non-Muslim as a friend could be accused of being an unbeliever as well:

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (5:51)

Muhammad said that unbelievers have it out for Muslims. They may appear harmless or friendly, but they really harbor corruption and evil intentions:

O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse (3:118)

Those outside of Islam are really helpers of evil against Allah:

The Misbeliever is a helper (of Evil), against his own Lord! (25:55)

Instead of befriending non-Muslims, Muslims are ordered to fight them:

O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. (9:123)

The Qur’an tells Muslims that they will spend eternity mocking the suffering of non-Muslims as they are tortured in Hell:

And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. (7:44) – Muhammad personally mocked his dead enemies following the Battle of Badr (Ibn Ishaq 454)

One does not befriend those over whose suffering they will rejoice, nor does it make any sense that Muslims would befriend those whom the Qur’an labels “enemies of Allah” by virtue of their unbelief.

The Qur’an Says that Other Religions are Cursed by Allah

Buddhists in Thailand, Jews in Israel, Christians in the Indonesia, Hindus in India… Why is Islam at war with every major world religion, when none of these religions are not at war with each other? Part of the reason is that the Qur’an is specific about the inferiority of other faiths and the hatred that Allah harbors for their people.

Although it is common for Muslims to become upset about anyone “insulting” their religion, here is what the Qur’an says about Jews and Christians:

The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (9:30) (See also Bukhari 8:427), one of the last things Muhammad ever said on his deathbed was “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians.”)

The Qur’an specifically addresses Christians, Jews, Polytheists (Hindus) and atheists:

Christians are blasphemers (5:17, 5:73) who have invented a lie about Allah (10:68-69). Inventing a lie about Allah is the worst of sins (7:37, 29:68) and for this reason Christians are condemned to Hell (10:70). Although one (early Medinan) verse seems to say that righteous Christians will go to heaven, this is abrogated by later verses that make it very clear that Christians must cease being Christian (ie. reject the Trinity) or suffer eternal torment for their beliefs (5:72-73).

Jews are also cursed by Allah (5:13), in one of His final pronouncements. The Qur’an goes on to assure Muslims that Jews are wicked (4:160-162) – so wicked, in fact, that they have somhow managed to do the impossible (18:27) and alter the word of Allah (2:75). Jews are “fond of lies” and “devour the forbidden” (5:42).

The Qur’an assures believers that Jews and Christians have “diseased hearts” (5:52). Allah even takes credit for the enmity between then (5:14). Only Jews and Christians who submit to Islamic subjugation and pay the Jizya are protected in this world (9:29 & Ibn Ishaq 956).

Hindus are polytheists. Although Muhammad didn’t know any Hindus (and neither did Allah, apparently) the Qur’an still manages to lay the groundwork for the 1000 year ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hindu people that is estimated to have taken tens of millions of innocent lives. In Islam polytheists are worse than all other religion. Those who join idols (14:30) or false gods (11:14) to Allah also invent a lie about Him (29:17) and will burn in Hell. Even believing in other along with Allah is an unforgivable crime (4:48, 40:12).

Atheists believe in no god, which is even worse than believing in the wrong one (Muhammad and his successors had atheists put to death – Bukhari 84:57) . Merely questioning the existence of Allah is a testament to one’s arrogance and impiety (25:21). But the arrogance of Muslims is encouraged in the Qur’an. Muhammad always answered probing questions merely by telling the inquiring party that they would go to Hell if they didn’t believe in him (36:49-64).

Anyone who gives up his religion is a “perverted transgressor” (3:82). Perverted as well is anyone who denies Allah (40:63). Freedom of conscience does not exist in Islam. Muhammad clearly prescribed the death penalty for apostates (Bukhari 52:260.

While contemporary Muslims often speak of “dialogue” (meaning an arrangement in which they tell you about Islam while you listen) the Qur’an speaks of Jihad instead:

Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad) against them with the utmost strenuousness. (25:52)

What would be the point in hearing anything a non-Muslim has to say… or even talking with them for that matter? Allah has already sealed their hearts and condemned them to Hell:

As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom (2:6)

For those wondering why Allah would even make infidels if their ultimate destination is Hell, Muhammad said that the purpose of some (Jews and Christians, at least) was to take the place of Muslims, so that they would not suffer there (Sahih Muslim 6666).

The Qur’an Says that People of Other Religions
are to be Punished in This World

Allah himself fights against the unbelievers (9:30), so why should Muslims not fight in His cause rather than in the cause of evil (4:76)?

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 (8:60)

Strive hard (Jihad) against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed). (66:9, See also 9:73)

Muslims are to expect a reward in this life as well as the next (4:134), so it makes sense that unbelievers should be punished in this life as well:

…He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. For them is a penalty in the life of this world, but harder, truly, is the penalty of the Hereafter… (13:33:34)

All beings on heaven and earth will be forced to bow down to Allah, either willingly or by force:

And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly (13:15)

Those who resist Islam will be humiliated:

Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. (58:20 – The context for this verse is the eviction of the Jewish Medinan tribes and the confiscation of their wealth, land, and children by Muhammad).

Non-Muslims are to be fought until religion is only for Allah:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah (8:39 – “Persecution” in this context means resistance to Islam – defined in the prior verse as an unwillingness to believe (see verse 38). This passage was “revealed” following a battle that Muhammad deliberately provoked. Verse 2:193 essentially says that same thing and was also “revealed” at a time when the Muslims were not under physical attack).

Non-Muslims are to be encroached on and pressured by the Muslims:

See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? (13:41 – See also 21:44)

And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and (to) a land which you have not yet trodden, and Allah has power over all things. (33:27, See also Bukhari 53:392)

Allah will grant Muslims authority and power over all other people:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion… (24:55)

Allah provides instructions to Muslims for dealing with unbelievers who are unwilling to accept Islamic rule:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.” This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment. (8:12-13)

Other verses of violence may be found here.

Conclusion

The pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering that is persistent in Muslim history and contemporary attitude toward non-believers reflects the message of the Qur’an, which is one of personal superiority and arrogance.

In our modern world, Muslim dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, while Muslim minorities within larger societies are distinguished by varying degrees of petulant demand, discord and armed rebellion. Few Muslims are uncomfortable with this blatant double standard, in which Islam either plays the victim or unapologetically victimizes others, depending on its position – and the reason is obvious.

Islam is a supremacist ideology in which the role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims. Those who resist Islamic rule are to be fought until they are fully humiliated and forced to acknowledge their inferior status either by converting to Islam or by paying a poll-tax and otherwise accepting the subjugation of their own beliefs.

There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or spends as much time condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

So much about Islamic terrorism and the general indifference of the broader Muslim community toward the violence makes sense only against this dual nature of Islam. Yes, the apologists are correct in saying that Islam teaches love and kindness, but they fail to add that this applies only within the Muslim community. Loyalty to one’s own identity group is valued above all else and empathy for those outside the faith is optional at best and even discouraged.

The Qur’an meets every criterion by which we define hate speech. Not only does the message inspire loathing and disregard for others, but the Qur’an mandates the superiority of Islam, even if the means of establishment are by force.

If this is a “misunderstanding” of Islam by modern-day “radicals,” then it is an error that the founder of Islam made as well. In his later years, Muhammad directed military campaigns to subjugate other tribes and religions, “inviting” them to Islam at the point of a sword and forcing them to pay tribute nonetheless. He set in motion the aggressive military campaigns that made war against all five major world religions in just the first few decades following his death.

Islam incorporates the ultimate devaluation of non-Muslims by teaching that while a Muslim may be punished with death for murdering a fellow Muslim (Bukhari 83:17), no Muslim can be put to death for killing a non-Muslim (Bukhari 83:50). The Qur’an’s “Law of Equality,” which assigns human value and rights based on gender, religion and status, is the polar opposite of equality in the Western liberal tradition, which ideally respects no such distinction.

One can always find apologists willing to dismiss the harsh rhetoric of the Qur’an with creative interpretation, torturous explanation or outright denial, but their words and deeds almost always belie a concern for Islam’s image that does not extend to Islam’s victims – at least not with the same sense of urgency – thus proving the point.

Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Qur’an as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.

An interesting and enlightening read thanks to The Religion of Peace.

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