Evidence Given by Prof. Hans Jansen at the Wilders Trial

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The following document was presented to the court by the Dutch Arabist Prof. Hans Jansen, and was entered into evidence in the trial of Geert Wilders. The parts that were read out during the trial may be found in this video. Prof. Jansen’s website contains a copy of the document.

Many thanks to our Flemish correspondent VH for translating the parts that were not already in English:

Text of expert witness statement: the at the request of the Judge-Commissioner, written letter which on October 6, 2010 was read out in Court in the case against Geert Wilders

Amsterdam, May 10, 2010

On his request to: Judge-Commissioner Mr. P.B. Martens, Amsterdam

From: Prof. Dr J.J.G. Jansen, www.arabistjansen.nl

1. Memorandum on the Qur’anic verse 2:256, “There is no compulsion in religion”. The Islam teaches that this verse is ‘abrogated’, i.e. ‘canceled’ by later revelations.

Note: Sura 2, where this Quran verse occurs, is according to friend and foe the first sura that was revealed in Medina. I consider it not possible that the complainants or the Prosecutor can find an Islamic lawyer or an academic Arabist who contradicts this. I regard it therefore as superfluous to spend additional work, time and attention to this issue of dating and chronology. The dating of Sura 2 is widely undisputed. See for example W. Montgomery WATT, Inleiding tot de Koran [‘Introduction to the Qur’an’ —translator], Utrecht, without year, p. 220, top: “All chronological classifications consider sura 2 as the first of the Medinan suras”.

Also the Quran translation by Fred Leemhuis states that Sura 9 dates from Medina (p. 129), and was revealed after Sura 5. Of Sura 5, Leemhuis then says that this was handed down after 48 (p. 77), and so on. Also according Leemhuis, Sura 2 thus is older than Sura 9.

Muhammad, the prophet of the Islam, established himself in Medina in 622, where he died in 632. Sura 9 according to friend and foe dates from a later phase of that period in Medina, in any case, according to most scholars after the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims in 630. There are even scholars who believe that Sura 9 is the last Sura that was revealed in Medina. Any contradictions between Sura 9 and Sura 2 are therefore definitive, in the sense that the rules as laid down in Sura 9, must be the prevailing rules of the Islam and the Sharia.

How can we be so sure that this is so? In Reliance of the Traveller, the oft-mentioned English-Arabic Sharia handbook by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, we read on page 629: “When two primary texts seem to contend, [the judge] gives precedence to: (5) those which supercede previous rulings.” The word ‘previous’ here is crucial for the understanding. This handbook, Reliance, I only mention here because of the fact that in this case it is already more or less known, but there no textbooks on the Islam and the Sharia exist that are made for Muslims by Muslims which state otherwise on this matter.

The principle of abrogation is explicated in the Qur’an itself, it is not the invention of outsiders. Qur’an 2:106, in the translation of Leemhuis: “What ever sign [= Quranic verse, HJ] We abolish or cause to be forgotten, We come up with something better or correspondingly.” ‘Abolish’ is the word with which in 2:106 both Leemhuis as well as Kramers clarify “abrogate”. Qur’an 10:52: “God abolishes”.

Sura 9 dates from the period in Medina (which means: 622-632). It is not the first sura of that period, because Sura 2 is considered as such. In a timeline, Sura 9 consequently is after Sura 2, and Sura 9 consequently abrogates the rules contained in Sura 2, when these are in conflict with provisions contained in Sura 9.

Sura 9:29 contains, in the translation of Leemhuis, the phrase “Fight against those who do not believe in God” and “Do not forbid what God and his Messenger forbid.” This forbidding cannot be made consistent with “there is no compulsion in religion”, 2:256. Forbidding, after all, implies coercion.

The imperative with which verse 9:29 begins, ‘qaatiluu’, is better translated as “beoorloogt” [“waged war on” —translator]. The root ‘qtl’, which the word is related to, means ‘killing’. The specific grammatical form being used here, according to grammarians, could just as well be based on a meaning of “[trying to] kill each other”. The complaining party or the Prosecutor will not find an Islamic legal scholar or scholar of Islam or an academic Arabist who contradicts this.

That this struggle or war at a given moment ends, is in practice correct. In theory the Islamic legal scholars and scholars of Islam nonetheless establish that the duty to wage this struggle will remain until the Last Day. In Reliance, the author states on page 602, the last lines of the page, that the obligation to wage Jihad in the English text:” the time and place for [it]”, remains until the return of Jesus, in the English text: “the final descent of Jesus (upon whom be peace)”.

In this, also, the complaining party or the Prosecutor will not find an Islamic legal scholar or scholar of Islam or academic Arabist who contradicts it. The Islamic legal scholars and scholars of Islam therefore traditionally make a sharp distinction between the ‘the House of the Peace’ and ‘the House of the War’. This distinction is the foundation of Islamic international law. About this dichotomy an extensive literature exists. I can hardly imagine that an academic Arabist or an Islamic legal scholar or a scholar of Islam desires to deceive a court on this matter in public.

2. In the issue that correction of un-Islamic behavior should be done first verbally and then by force:

From the canonical tradition-collection of Muslim (9th century):

[The text below is not read out in court because it is in English, with permission of the defense]


Book 001, Number 0079:

It is narrated on the authority of Tariq b. Shihab: It was Marwan who initiated (the practice) of delivering khutbah (address) before the prayer on the ‘Id day. A man stood up and said: Prayer should precede khutbah. He (Marwan) remarked, This (practice) has been done away with. Upon this Abu Sa’id remarked: This man has performed (his duty) laid on him. I heard the Messenger of Allah as saying: He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith.

Book 001, Number 0081:

It is narrated on the authority ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed: Never a Prophet had been sent before me by Allah towards his nation who had not among his people (his) disciples and companions who followed his ways and obeyed his command. Then there came after them their successors who said whatever they did not practise, and practised whatever they were not commanded to do. He who strove against them with his hand was a believer: he who strove against them with his tongue was a believer, and he who strove against them with his heart was a believer and beyond that there is no faith even to the extent of a mustard seed. Abu Rafi’ said: I narrated this hadith to ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar; he contradicted me. There happened to come ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud who stayed at Qanat, and ‘Abdullah b ‘Umar wanted me to accompany him for visiting him (as ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud was ailing), so I went along with him and as we sat (before him) I asked Ibn Mas’ud about this hadith. He narrated it in the same way as I narrated it to Ibn ‘Umar.

[from here on was further read out in court, in Dutch.]

The announcement of hand, tongue and heart is also in the canonical collection of Abuu Daawuud: Kitaab as-Salaat (Al-Khaalidii, Beirut 2007, p. 187 Number 1140) “Who sees a forbidden thing he can change with his hand, let him change it with his hand: and if he can not, then with his tongue, and if he can not, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith.”

I am prepared, if necessary, when the Prosecutor or the complaining party disputes this, to further elaborate these issues.

Yours truly,

Amsterdam, May 10, 2010