Michael Copeland writes for Liberty GB and is a frequent commenter here at Gates of Vienna. The essay below has been published before, but is no longer available online.
The Mindset Need
11 April 2014
By Michael Copeland
What is Government doing? How do they allow themselves to be so misled about Islam, and expose the people to so much risk? There has been a failure to grasp the mindset of this very different and alien social system.
The mindset need
The Western mind is hopelessly handicapped for comprehending Islamic ideology. To make any headway there is a need to part company with many basic assumptions and replace them with unfamiliar foreign ones, involving a large effort of imagination. In the mindset of Western Europe, livelihoods are tied to cities, towns or villages, in a climate with, generally, no shortage of rain. Everyone is accustomed to considerable freedoms and rights under a centrally administered modern democracy. Wilful mental energy is needed to transport the mind’s eye to a seventh century desert nomad tribe, a close-bonded group of travellers with no base, with restricted rights under a ruthless leader whose word is law, and where water is very precious.
The seventh-century mindset
Life under a harsh and unremitting sun is a harsh and unremitting regime with cruel punishments. Women, mutilated as girls, and with about half the rights of men, are kept as closely-guarded chattels, fully covered from view, to be sold as child-brides, then used and beaten as wives. Offences are punished with retaliation or blood money. Captives taken in raids are kept as slaves, ransomed or sold. The tribe moves on from grazing to grazing, every action governed by strict all-controlling warrior codes which permit no disobedience, no dissent, no freedom of conscience. It is a life of raids and booty, feuds and self-defence, ruthlessly enacted without a central national administration. The tribe with its elders is the unit. There is no Geneva Convention, no Declaration of Human Rights, no Women’s Liberation.
That is the picture. Think Lawrence of Arabia.
Islam is unchanged from the seventh century. Europe’s Christian year 622 is year 1 of Islam’s calendar. There has never been any Reformation or modernisation. Islamic law — Sharia law — proclaimed as both unchanged and unchangeable, gives an authentic historical insight into that era, with its hostility to outsiders. Islam is a Brotherhood, male-dominated, armed, and kept ready for fighting. Its stated objective, also unchanged, is imperial domination, imposing Sharia law on all mankind — “by persuasion or by force” — in the dreamed-of Global Caliphate. The ideology is fixed, but it does not exclude Western inventions. Think Lawrence of Arabia with mobiles and AK47s.
The command for continuous war
The Koran, part of Sharia law, held to be “true from eternity to eternity”, and unchangeable — “None may change his words” (18:27) — contains the ongoing order to wage war on outsiders. Modern listeners in Western Europe receive the concept “wage war” with a modern European mindset, namely, as a state waging war on another state, after the due formal declaration. Here immediately there is a communication problem: the Western mindset is fixed in the twenty-first century. Commands in the Koran need to be understood in their illiterate seventh century desert tribal context. There is nothing national about them, nothing formal or diplomatic.
Desert tribes of the seventh century were unlettered, relying on oral transmission, and had a culture of robbery — survival of the warlike. They did not subscribe to any international convention for defining a state of war: they just went ahead and attacked, preferably in a surprise raid, and likewise they had to be capable of defending themselves if they in turn were attacked.
The Koran’s commands for “war” should be understood in its tribal context, frequently as “attack”, though also as defence. Likewise with all the many commands to “fight” non-members which permeate the Koran: “Nothing else is mentioned more than the topic of fighting in the Koran”, explained Anjem Choudary to the BBC. The word “fight”, explains Arabic speaker Ashraf Ramelah of Voice of the Copts, is one of those artfully deceptive translations that disguise the homicidal original, which is “kill”, or “fight to the death”. Abu Hamza helpfully confirms this: “When you fight, you fight to kill: you kill”.
The Koran, interestingly, is more than 62% devoted to the subject of non-members, how they are unclean and have to be despised and hated, and how there is the duty to “fight” them, subjugate them, and dominate them. It makes the attacking easier, and the booty more justified. The spoils are the tribesmen’s pay, and a means of acquiring women in a regime where the rich buy multiple wives.
In illiterate desert tribal usage there would not have been any expectation of a prior challenge or invitation to war. This is not European chivalry. This is following “the path”, in Arabic, “sharia”. These are roaming camel-borne herdsmen of no fixed abode, taking grazing where they find it and moving on, attacking people who are not of their tribe, and taking booty. They are not cultivators: they are not builders: they have no home village, and move around, taking and discarding as they go. The tribe is their home, their pride, their honour. No-one else is of any consequence.
These are the basic harsh politics of the desert tribe:
- The tribe are the best of people.
- Be loyal to the tribe, hostile to non-members.
- Obey the leader without question, without dissent.
- Be prepared with weapons to make raids.
- The rules do not change.
- Kill anyone who denies any rule.
- Kill anyone who leaves.
- Mistrust all non-members.
- Do not take orders from them.
- Do not take them as allies.
- A treaty with them does not have to be kept.
- Deceiving them is permitted.
- Regard them with hatred.
- They are dirt, lower than animals, unclean.
- They must join up, or pay up in submission, or be killed.
- Non-payers can be attacked, their women and property taken.
- God does not love them.
- They are God’s enemies, so also the tribe’s.
This is the mindset for the arid equivalent of the urban jungle. Add, specifically for Muslims, that Mohammed provides the beautiful pattern to follow, so his actions, terrorising, killing, robbing, torturing, should be copied. “I have been made victorious with terror”, he said.
At that period rules for governing, for holding people together, were all part of what was promoted as divine purpose. The English words ligature and ligament both use the same Latin root ligere, to bind, as the word “religion”, which expresses a common bond that “binds” people together. The word “religion” when it appears in the Koran needs to be understood today in this light as governance, law, control of behaviour: it is emphatically not restricted, as in the West today, to private conscience. No private conscience is permitted in Islam. There is no separation of mosque and state: mosque is part of state. Islam, with its thousands of detailed rules, remains today a total system of conduct: “no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private”, wrote the famous twentieth-century scholar Maulana Maududi, “the Islamic State bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states”.
Jihad to impose the Caliphate
Fighting “in the way of Allah” is how the Koran refers to Jihad. The Koran, and the traditions — Hadith — form part of Islamic law. A person who denies any verse has to be killed (Manual of Islamic Law o8.7(7), o8.1). The killing can be performed without penalty by anyone “since it is killing someone who deserves to die” (ditto o8.4). The Manual of Islamic Law says (references are at the end of this text): “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims …signifying warfare to establish the religion”, a “communal obligation” (o9.0, o9.1). The Koran is clear:
|2:216||Fighting is prescribed for you.|
|4:89||Slay them wherever you find them.|
|9:36||Fight the idolaters utterly.|
|2:190||And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you…|
|2:191||And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, … but if they fight you, then slay them…|
|2:193||And fight with them until there is no persecution …|
|2:216||Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you, and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you …|
|2:244||And fight in the way of Allah …|
|8:39||Fight them until there is no more persecution and Islam is the only governance.|
|9:5||Kill the idolaters wherever you find them…|
|9:29||Fight those who do not believe in [Islam] …until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
The command to “fight”, meaning “kill”, is a personal instruction, not addressed to the state, but to each man, who needs to be a fighting man, a soldier and brother. It does not await a declaration: it is permanent. All communities that are not Dar al Islam, the Abode of Islam, are Dar al Harb, the Abode of War. Al Azhar University in Cairo teaches that Jihad is “a permanent war institution”.
The highest authority of Sunni Islam, Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, makes the obligation perfectly clear:
“Muslims must kill non-believers wherever they are unless they convert to Islam.”
Each member has a personal duty to “wage war” on outsiders by Jihad. It is not always with a weapon: the cause can be supported by donations of money and time. However, again and again speakers enjoin war with weapons, and killing.
“Where is your weapon? Where is your weapon ? Come on to the Jihad.” — Omar Bakri.
“The greatest sacrifice made in the way of Allah is Jihad. In it man sacrifices not only his own life and belongings but destroys those of others also.” — Maulana Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam
“You shall not regain Al-Aqsa [Jerusalem] and Palestine without preparations, rockets, and guns… not… through negotiations, capitulations, kisses, or hugs. The one thing that will restore Palestine to you is Jihad, Jihad, and more Jihad.” — Sheik Muhammad Zaghmout, head, Palestinian Islamic Council in Lebanon, 2012.
The command to establish Islamic law exclusively entails the elimination of man-made law and the extinction of nation states:
“The abolition of man-made laws cannot be achieved only through preaching.… It must employ Jihad.” — Sayeed Qutb, Milestones.
“Prophet said: The Muslim nation is one nation, to the exclusion of all others.” (placard in Oxford Street march 25 March 2011 ThinkAfricaPress at 0.31)
The goal is political, the Global Caliphate, “Mastership of the World!”, as Safwat al Hegazy of Egypt said. The Caliphate is the dreamed-of single Islamic state for all worldwide, totally under Islamic law, to be imposed by Jihad. Hear revered medieval scholar, Ibn Khaldun, “Holy war is a religious duty …[to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” (The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History).
Hear Maududi further:
“Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam. …non-Muslims have absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth.”
The dire condition of the West
This vigorous mindset of imperial expansion — by persuasion or by force — is what Westerners, particularly their leaders, need to realise, and quickly. Western politicians are seriously failing to defend their states and peoples, a dire condition that is becoming more and more self-evident in Europe and North America. What are we paying for? Government or criminal negligence?
Koran and Hadith (traditions), all part of Islamic law:
|3:110||Muslims are “the best of peoples”|
|48:29||“Those who are with him [Mohammed] are forceful against the disbelievers [non-Muslims], merciful among themselves.”|
|33:36||“When a matter has been decided by Allah and his messenger the Muslim man or woman has no choice.”|
|8:60||“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy…”|
|18:27||“None may change his words”.|
|33:21||“Certainly … in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern.”|
|5:51||“Do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are allies of one another.”|
|60:1||“Do not take My enemies [non-Muslims] and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection … And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.” [path, “sharia”, that is, has left Islam, thus should be killed]|
|66:2||“Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths.”
Bukhari (v7. 67:427) Mohammed said, ‘If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.’”
|8:58||“If you [have reason to] fear from a people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them, [putting you] on equal terms.”|
|60:4||“an excellent pattern …between us [Muslims] and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone.”|
|2:98||“Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers [non-Muslims].”|
|30:45||“He [Allah] does not love the unbelievers [non-Muslims].”
Bukhari (52:260) “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody [a Muslim] discards his religion, kill him.’”
Reliance of the Traveller, Manual of Islamic Law o8.1, o8.7(7) “a person deserves to be killed” if he “deny any verse of the Koran”.
Non-Muslims, the unbelievers, are:
|98:6||“the worst of creatures“,|
|8:22, 8:55||“the vilest of beasts”.|
|9:5||“Kill the idolaters [non-Muslims] wherever you find them…”|
|2:191||“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out…”|
|9:29||“Fight [to the death] those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day [non-Muslims], nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth [Islam], (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [extortion tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued”.
Ibn Kathir on 9:29: Non-Muslims are not allowed to be elevated above Muslims.
The Koran can be consulted online: www.quran.com
The Manual of Islamic Law is available as a free download: www.shafiifiqh.com/maktabah/relianceoftraveller.pdf
General reference: www.TheReligionOfPeace.com