In the aftermath of the horrific killings in Paris the overwhelming sentiment expressed by people of our modern age is horror, followed by a disbelief that human beings could be so utterly devoid of any compassion and be able to take lives, themselves included, without any objective that makes sense. Yet, they do and will continue to do so when the opportunity arises, because they are not beholding to globally held humanitarian ideals, but to an agenda set in motion 1400 years ago with its principle tenets effectively carved in stone, never to be changed.
However, we know there are Muslims who live peacefully in our society who appear to live their lives some way apart from our concept of Jihad though that may not always be true. It’s important to understand that Jihad can be of the sword, the mouth, the pen or money, so Jihad can be supported by many means.
There are far too many of them to all be considered ‘sleepers’, as Islam would permit, so it appears that, in common with many religions Islam too has its share of the partially compliant who follow unauthorised or convenient interpretations because that’s the only way to make sense of a doctrine that doesn’t fit with a modern world and was specifically designed so long ago with the principal purpose of subjugating others at any cost.
The religious element of Islam hurts no one and, in common with all other religions, should be a matter for the individual and their conscience and their church. Political Islam, on the other hand, is a real threat to humanity in general as it clings to the doctrine and the actions of a different world.
To understand political Islam one has to understand Mohammed because Mohammed is Islam. The word itself means ‘submission’ and the word Muslim ‘one who submits’. Islam began with Mohammed and has stayed in the 6th century because he framed his own position as being unalterable as the ‘last prophet’ and the texts as being the direct word of God (Allah) as told to him by the Angel Gabriel. The Koran, therefore, is what Mohammed said that Gabriel said that Allah said.
The fundamental principle behind the dogma is that the Koran is the word of Allah and therefore perfect in every way and for all time and that the life of Mohammed as the ‘last prophet’ is also perfect in every way and must be forever emulated by all Muslims. From a perspective 1400 years later both of these tenets are clearly questionable so any updating of Islam may well need a newer interpretation.
The problem in easily understanding Islam, even for Muslims, are the contradictions in the Koran as modified by abrogation (later verses overrule earlier ones) and the fact that it is not written in chronological order. To determine which doctrine is now prevalent one has to also include the Siria (Mohammed’s biography) and the Haddith, which are a collection of stories about Mohammed and his decisions (the number of which considered to be authentic is well over 7,000). This requires interpretation and the existence of scholars (Imams) to advise and teach though they are strapped quite tightly to a doctrine that, quite simply, encourages the acts of unmitigated violence that is the hallmark of Islamic aggression.
However one interprets the Islamic texts it is quite impossible to avoid the obvious and principle doctrine of Mohammed.
The peoples of the earth are divided into two categories according to Islam, those who submit (Muslims) and those who do not, (Kafirs). Any act against a Kafir is permissible to force them to convert to Islam and any act is permissible to further the cause of Islam. Fear, of course, is a principle weapon along with deceit, subversion, terrorism, in fact, anything at all.
The point of this article isn’t to delve into the details of Islam as one can easily research these facts but to consider if it can change. As it happens, quite a lot is known about Mohammed and his doctrine but even so it isn’t always well understood even by Muslims themselves. The prohibition placed on all Muslims against engaging in discussion with Kafirs is protectionist dogma of the highest degree and serves also to maintain the degree of misinformation we so readily accept. A doctrine, that by its own declarations, cannot be subject to question or amendment creates a problem for the Muslim world however they define their particular allegiance.
The question is, therefore, how does a religion with an ostensibly massive following (it is hard to tell who submits willingly and who is forced, though many Islamic countries do not allow anyone to leave Islam) update its core doctrine without implying some imperfections on the part of their God or his (self declared) prophet?
This is the problem that Islam presents in a modern world.
The unalterable doctrine mandates all Muslims to use whatever means necessary to achieve world domination. This happening is referred to as the last day when all buried Muslims will be allowed to ascend to heaven as before that time they are all lying in their graves waiting for this event. The fighters and the martyrs go directly to the 7th level of heaven without this inconvenient delay so within the doctrine and for those who are determined to follow it blindly their incentive to spread Islam as quickly as possible is, not only, to ensure their personal everlasting salvation but also to bring to an end the interminable wait of those who have been buried over the last 1400 years.
The significance of this stance is that the actions of Kafirs are quite irrelevant to the aggression of Islam. Charlie Hebdo cartoons or the French action against IS hasn’t caused retribution, but are useful for Islamist propaganda. This tactic serves very well to convince us Kafirs that somehow Islamic violence is our fault and that we must remain even more passive than before to avoid a recurrence when the opposite is true. The only way for protection is to defeat them militarily and with overwhelmingly disproportionate force. This is a war that has to be won and it must be the humanitarian world that prevails.
The ‘moderate’ Muslims we all hear so much about may simply be ‘lapsed’ or exercising personal discretion, or following the Mecca example of Mohammed’s life and not the Medina example, though this itself would deny the authenticity of abrogation which is a critical and fundamental aspect. They may also be biding their time, as it were. The doctrine allows this to happen in times when force is not strong enough to be used. It is also evident that in the UK those who have been born here may still feel the need to follow the ancient dogma as it is portrayed by those committed to the ultimate objective.
A problem for the world’s ‘moderate’ Muslims is their general unwillingness to stand up against these horrific acts of war because by being submissive to this age old doctrine they must also support the conclusions it dictates. It is very difficult to criticise acts of extreme and seemingly random violence when those very acts are supported by the religious dogma of Islam to which they belong.
Islam desperately needs updating but how is that to be done?
Were it to be possible to amend Islam and confine it to a religious act of observance as opposed to a political ideology then the warmongers could be chastised, or even expelled. Catholicism, by way of example, adapted the religious texts to suite prevailing conditions and by also having a supreme arbiter has the option of putting dissenters outside the religion altogether which is a powerful incentive to toe the line. However, Islam isn’t like that.
The most likely strategy for modifying Islam to meet more agreeably with the modern world is to re-interpret the word of Allah (keeping that as perfect) but suggesting some modification of meaning by Gabriel and some limitation of understanding by Mohammed, so that what is written and what was performed relates to their age only and contrary to what has been thought over all these years they were, in fact, metaphors requiring change and updates as society develops.
Whether this will happen or not is unknown but, is currently, unlikely. However, if no changes are made then a greater conflict awaits and Muslims everywhere may not find it so easy to belong to a political ideology that hates everyone else yet at the same time proclaims peaceful intentions for themselves.