Wayne's Worldview is a place to share my unique perspective of the world as formed from my interpretation of the scriptures and my experience as a Christian. As a pastor, I am asked a lot of questions about current issues, life dilemmas, personal problems, politics, biblical interpretation...etc.I offer these "How I see it" thoughts in effort to challenge people to think about their worldview, and to stimulate good conversations that will help us become more whole.
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Understanding the Islamic Practice of Beheading

The internet is being flooded with graphic pictures of beheaded Christians of late. The Bible says that in the last-days, beheading specifically will be a method of martyrdom. Christians will be killed specifically for their “testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God.” This week we saw the “people of the cross” beheaded for that very reason. Read the following scriptures: I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Matthew 24:9 All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. John 16:1-4 Jesus warns His disciples that they will be hated and put to death because of their belief in him. Here in the US Christians get worked up when people say Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas”, but our brothers and sisters, who have identified themselves with Christ in other parts of the world are being killed. Not only that, but the ones who kill them literally think that in doing so, they are offering a service to God. We may imagine this possible for people who lived in the dark ages, but not today! Fifteen years ago you might have difficulty believing this article, but after thousands of murderous chants of alluha akbar, and the carnage we see on the news every day, maybe now it will be understood for what it is. Only people with firm conviction that one’s God commands this behavior could carry out such barbaric acts and think it praiseworthy. People are not committing these atrocities because they are unemployed and don’t have better things to do! In the face of this evil, many choose to accept the lesser of two evils- the idea that a few people within an otherwise good religion are responsible. This has given rise to the current debate: whether the evil is “Islam” or if it is a practice of some of its adherents (extremists). The idea that it is an entire religion insults our sensibilities, and more specifically is seen as insulting to its adherents. For those reasons, it is much easier to accept that some radicals, possibly under the influence of some wayward spiritual leaders, have “hijacked the religion”. While, an honest cursory look at Islamic beliefs, history, and “holy writings” does not support that conclusion, it is politically incorrect to say so. If one even seriously considers it as true, they better prepare to be deemed as hateful, narrow minded, bigoted and evil. Take beheading for example. Did these radicals just make this up as a dramatic form of execution, so they could get the world’s attention? Absolutely not. While it may be seen by many as some new form of barbarism, it is a practice sanctioned and practiced by Muhammad himself. Beheading does not defy the practice of Islam. Just the opposite is true. It is the exercise of a well-established practice of Islam by faithful Muslims. Extremist, by definition is a fanatical ideology, which is outside the mainstream. To believe that the practice of Jihad as a sacred duty is new to Islam, or that beheading is the abhorrent behavior of a few is mere ignorance. Beheading is not only commanded as a specific method of killing ones enemies in the Quran, but the preferred method of killing by Muhammad and many of his followers. If you grew up a Muslim a thousand years ago or ten years ago, you are leaning the same things from your sacred writings: Aba Hakam was severely wounded but still alive when Abdullah, the servant, of Muhammad, ran up, put his foot on Aba Hakam’s neck, got hold of his beard and started insulting the fatally wounded man whom his own people had named the father of wisdom. Abdullah cut off Aba Hakam’s head and carried it to his master. "The head of the enemy of Allah!" exclaimed Muhammad joyously; ---- "Allah! There is none other god but he!" - "Yea There is no other!" responded Abdullah, as he cast the severed head at the Prophet’s feet. "It is more acceptable to me;" cried Mohammad, hardly able to contain his joy, "than the choicest camel in all Arabia.” (The examples of Muhammad) “Strike terror (into the hearts of) the enemies of God and your enemies.” (Surah 8:60) “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them. It is not ye ho slew them; it was God.” (Surah 8:13-17) You learn about your beloved prophet, and how the greatest among you will be those who are most like him. For that person, what other form of killing would appeal as much as beheading, and what other words would be deemed more appropriate for the occasion than “Allah is great”? The mass slaughter and dismemberment of enemies has been a kind of signature for those faithful followers of Muhammad who desire to emulate him. This is as true for historical conquests as it is today. Whatever Muhammad said or did is considered just as authoritative and inspired as the very Quran itself. The actions of Muhammad dictate the model for living that Allah has ordained for all Muslims, just as to a Christian, they are to live as Jesus Christ lived. The conduct of Muhammad is not only idealized, but commanded to faithful followers: If you love Allah, then follow me (Muhammad). -Sura 3:31 (Shakir). Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day. -Sura 33:21. If you want to learn about a revered Muslim, do a search and read about Khalid bin al-Walid al-Makhzumi- otherwise known as The Sword of Allah. It ought not to surprise us then, when you do an internet search on terrorists named Khalid, you end up with a long list of names, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed- the mastermind who was the architect of the 911 attacks. While the world is not overrunning with people naming their children or those who voluntarily rename themselves Adolph Hitler, those who take the name Khalid-The Sword of Allah are too numerous to count. As are the stories of the great multitudes who have been beheaded by the faithful followers of Allah. Another interesting man who named himself The Sword of Allah is Tamerlane the Conqueror. He was notorious for creating a gigantic pyramid of 90,000 enemy heads, to incite terror into anyone who would think of opposing him. His empire stretched thousands of miles, encompassing parts of Turkey, India, Iran, Afghanistan, and also Kyrgyzstan (were Tamerlan Tsarnaev) was born. It could be just a coincidence that, the Boston Marathon Bomber’s namesake was the 14th-century Muslim ruler who killed 17 million people (5% of the population of the world). Then again if you were brought up in a warrior jihadist culture, it would be far less surprising. What I hear argued almost daily is the idea that “these atrocities are carried out by a “few” Muslim extremists, but this is not Islam.” The essence of this argument is that a few bad Muslims are tarnishing an otherwise good religion. To that argument, I ask one simple question: What does Islam teach the faithful about killing non-Muslims? Two examples suffice to make my point, without even addressing the verses that deal with Christians and Jews. 1. It is allowed and even encouraged, due to the law of law of Qisas. The logic is that if you are against Islam or the prophet, you may legally be killed. For example: Killing a cartoonist who used an image of Mohammed in a cartoon is considered justice, not murder. 2. Killing of non-Muslims (kaffirs / unbelievers or infidels) is ordained in too many places to cite. In the Western world, we see ourselves as innocent, because we did not attack them and we are in our homeland. But to the Islamic faithful, we are an enemy if we have not confessed Allah. If a person rejects Allah, Muslims are allowed to kill them. It is not haram (forbidden/illegal) to kill a kaffir. Muslims are allowed and even commanded to fight against the unbelievers and even seek them out where they are in order to force them to convert to Islam or accept death. This is not an extremist view, but the very teaching and example of Muhammad. If you encounter (in war) those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks -Surah 47:4 (Khalifa)When ye encounter the infidels, strike off their heads. –Surah 47:4 Muhammad, as a military leader authorized the butchering of captives, the raping of women and the enslavement of children. The holy books of Islam, history and current events demonstrate that the religion reproduces the actions of its founder. I acknowledge that there are many peaceful Muslims in the world who do not pursue the path of those who have been called Islamic Extremists today. They have chosen to interpret the Quran differently, and emphasize other teachings in priority over the violent ones. Many of us have wondered why they are not more outspoken. The reason is that they are very aware that the faith they embrace calls upon Muslims who are faithful to commit similar acts of violence upon Muslims who are deemed unfaithful or apostate. Unfortunately for them, this often includes those who associate with non-Muslims, do not participate in Jihad or are considered lesser Muslims. These teachings fuel the bitter violence between various sects of Islam such as Shiite and Sunni, toward the goal of purifying Islam from strains of ‘heretical’ thought. The killing of those who bring shame includes people who commit shameful acts and is the basis of what is commonly called ‘honor killing’. Those who western people would call ‘good Muslims’, because they are peaceful, are identified by other Muslims, as ‘bad Muslims’ who should be killed for their shameful unfaithfulness and cowardice.