Rabat - Mark A. Gabriel, author of “Islam and Terrorism,” continues his attempt to alienate Islam and Muslims.
Rabat – Mark A. Gabriel, author of “Islam and Terrorism,” continues his attempt to alienate Islam and Muslims.
Like I have demonstrated in the previous articles, trickery and mischief mark the substance of his assertions, which go as low as to lie about historical, religious, and political facts. In this final part of my book review, I shed light on his striking technique of disfiguring facts.
Distorting historical facts is one of the methods that the writer resorts to in his book. I will focus on some of the more striking ones and leave the controversial ones, like the third Islamic Caliph, Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and his story with Muawiyah Ibn Abi Suffian. On this subject, I will present traceable facts that refute his stories about Sayyid Qutb that propose preposterous claims.
One of the pivotal premises of the book is that the Egyptian thinker, Sayyid Qutb, who was sentenced to death by Egyptian authority during the reign of Jamal Abdel-Nasser, has shaped the current extremist Jihadi mindset. Chapter fourteen offers a biographical account of Qutb and a breakdown of his thoughts, contained in his books, “Signs Along the Road”, which he claims are the core Islamic beliefs. However, he hides from his readers the fact that Qutb was not an Islamic scholar but merely a thinker that presented his philosophical, anti-materialist views covered in a religious suit.
The huge amount of criticism Qutb has received can be summarized in the prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Al–Albani’s statement: “Sayyid Qutb is not a jurist nor is he a scholar. He cannot express the meanings of jurisprudence that came in the Quran and Sunnah” (A Word of Truth: 95). From the moment we uncover this, we notice that this fact goes against the book’s major argument, that terrorism is a built-in feature in Islam, and supports the fact that, indeed, the extremist mindset is influenced by positions of Sayyid Qutb that are dismissed by the majority of Muslim scholars as not Islamic. Aljazeera Arabic aired an interview on May 27, 2015, with Abu Mohamed Aljulani, the military leader of Jabhat Nusra (JN) in Syria, where he admitted integrating Qutb’s thoughts in their educational systems. Again, these thoughts do not emanate from Islam but from a thinker who employed Islamic jargon.
The author twists a number of religious facts in his quest to alienate Muslims in the world, and specifically in the West. Like I have shown in “Nurturing Fear,” religious facts are skewed in Gabriel’s book. In addition, another story caught my attention as it clearly demonstrates the writer’s double standard. The story of A’isha, the prophet’s wife, is utilized in chapter five as an example that Muslims can lie to one another. He invokes the famous incident where A’isha was accused of adultery and asserts that the prophet (PBUH) lied to his followers and discharged her.
For some reason he dismisses A’icha’s famous exoneration in the Quran in chapter 24 verse 11, “Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you.” The question is: why this unusual disregard of the Quranic verse when he quoted every single verse that talks about Jihad in the Quran? One might ask: is it due to the fact that he did not find one example of a lie to Muslims anywhere in the prophet’s lifetime records? And why dismiss the Quran now after having invoked it before?
Another falsification of facts about Islam occurs in chapter two. While talking about Islam’s position with regard to charging interest, the author quotes a verse in chapter two of the Quran: “The Exalted said ‘O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers. If ye do it not, Take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger’” (278). Indeed, Islam views the effects of charging interest as destructive to its project of social justice, and equates undertaking it (by Muslims) with waging a war against Allah and his messenger. This is the (conventional) understanding of this verse above. Yet, Gabriel says as he comments on the same verse that “…Allah required Muhammad to go to war against those who would not give up usury (charging interest)”.
Proof of the writer’s use of deceit to demonize the Islamic faith lies in the fact that charging interest disappeared in Muslim society after this verse was revealed. Also, “Waging a war against Allah and his messenger” in this very verse is used in the metaphorical sense and there is not even one historical record of a war between the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and those who charged it before such as his uncle, Al-Abbas.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the political party that the Egyptians democratically elected for the first time in Egypt’s history, is equated in the book with radicalism such as in this statement: “This is because the philosophy that drives groups such as Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS needs to be understood and addressed in the Islamic world.” Distortion in this regard relates to the fact that anyone who knows Islamism knows that there are immense ideological and methodological differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups such as ISIS. I would like, on this matter, to make reference to a previously written article, Understanding Salafism: Part One, where I discuss the extremists rigidity in matters related to politics and state, “Thus, accommodations to politics of the Muslim Brotherhood, for instance, is a concession that the Salafists are not willing to make.” (An upcoming series of articles will delve into the specificities of movements like the Muslim Brotherhood)
As I argued in the beginning of this article series and proved subsequently, “Islam and Terrorism” is an example of the Islamophobic literature that attracts readers in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. Mark A. Gabriel, the self-pronounced former professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, uses in this book every discursive technique available to him to inflate the difference from Muslims in the West: He nurtures fear, decontextualizes the Quranic verses pertinent to Jihad, and disfigures historical, religious, and political facts. The effect of these techniques is a feeling of terror that is carved in the reader’s heart with constant conditioning and repetition throughout the book, which increases and maintains the current state of tension.
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