ADDENDUM: My colleague Diana West, was reading an online version of Maariful Qur’an (discussed at some length, below) and noted an opening summary overview of this commentary’s gloss on Koran 3:26 (and 3:27)—invoked, prominently by Ambassador Rasool during his main khutbah (sermon)—which I had overlooked. The emphasis in this omitted section of the gloss is of profound importance to what transpired at The National Cathedral Muslim prayer service, Friday, November 14, 2014.
In these verses, Muslims have been taught and prompted to make a particular prayer which, in a subtle way, gives an indication that they are going to overpower the disbelievers. This has its proof in the background in which these verses were revealed. When the Holy Prophet [Muhammad] promised that Byzantium and Persia will be taken, the hypocrites and Jews laughed at the idea. Thereupon, this verse [ ]was revealed.
Al-Wahidi’s (d. 1075 CE) “Book of occasions of revelation,” was the first and most significant work attempting to compile all the material regarding the occasions of “Koranic revelation” in one volume. It remains the standard upon which all subsequent works were based. According to al-Wahidi, Koran 3:26 was revealed under the following circumstances:
When the Messenger of God conquered Mecca and promised his community dominion over the kingdoms of Persia and Byzantium, the hypocrites and Jews sarcastically exclaimed, “How preposterous of Muhammad! He thinks he can conquer the kingdoms of Persia and Byzantium; they are far too strong and well protected. Is Muhammad not satisfied with Mecca and Medina that he now covets the kingdoms of Persia and Byzantium?”
This past Thursday (11/3/14) in anticipation of a midday Friday Islamic service, to be held, November 14th in the National Cathedral I noted the willful obliviousness to a grim centennial remembrance: November 11, 1914, when the Ottoman Sheikh ul-Islam (supreme Muslim religious authority) issued fatwas (religious edicts) declaring a jihad against non-Muslim state enemies of the last Muslim “Caliphate.”
Subsequent Ottoman Muslim fatwas (see here; here) promulgated during the World War I era would target Christian minorities, under Sharia-based Ottoman Muslim rule, for genocidal jihadism against these hapless non-Muslim victims. The Ottoman jihad ravages were as barbaric and depraved as the recent horrific spate of ISIS atrocities in Iraq and Syria, and far more extensive. Occurring, largely between 1915-16 (continuing through at least 1918), some one million Armenian, and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered, or starved to death during forced deportations orchestrated by their Ottoman Muslim rulers, through arid wastelands.
Following the Friday November 14th event (which can be viewed in its entirety, here; or here; see also this useful written summary account), Dean of the National Cathedral, Gary Hall, when questioned about this cruelly ironic timing, conceded, “I did not know that it was that anniversary”—but then segued into an unconscionable immoral equivalence defending the “ecumenical” Muslim prayer service.
But knowing it now, it actually seems to be more appropriate to have an event that is on an anniversary of a hard time… There have been atrocities on both sides. There have been extremists on both sides.
After viewing Friday’s ostensible exercise in “ecumenism” at The National Cathedral, it is impossible for me to discern whether the Christian event organizers are more ethically, or intellectually cretinous. Consider the main khutbah (or sermon) delivered by Muslim South African Ambassador to the U.S. (and champion of the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood), Ebrahim Rasool.
Extolling his National Cathedral Christian hosts, the good ambassador Rasool quoted (video here; hat tip Ken Sikorski)—in deliberately truncated fashion—only the latter portion of Koran 5:82 (equivalent to this: “…and you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”) What Mr. Rasool omitted is the virulently Jew- and “pagan”-hating, opening half of verse 5:82: “Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and those who are Al-Mushrikun (i.e., “idolatrous” Hindus, Buddhists, and Animists).”
The Jew-hating nature of this verse—well-established by classical Koranic commentaries, spanning over a millennium—was re-affirmed by Sunni Islam’s most prestigious center of religious education, Al-Azhar University, and its current leading cleric, Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb. During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam gave a brief explanation of the ongoing relevance of verse 5:82 which has been invoked—“successfully”—to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam:
A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims’ relations with the Jews…This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism…Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews…”
Not long afterward, and clearly unnoticed by his witless hosts, Rasool invoked (video here) the Koran’s vitriole towards Christian societies (and indeed all non-Muslim civilizations who refuse to submit to a Sharia [Islamic Law]-based Muslim order), quoting Koran 3:26 (Say (O Muhammad SAW): ‘O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.’”) Authoritative classical and modern glosses on this anodyne-sounding verse reveal its inherent threat of violent jihad conquest by Muslims—past Byzantine (and Zoroastrian Persian) historical experiences as prologue. Two classical Koranic commentaries, and a renowned modern gloss, underscore the consistency of this mainstream, authoritative interpretation of Koran 3:26, spanning 600-years, till now.
Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) was one of the best-known historians and traditionalists of Syria during the reign of the Bahri Mamluks, compiling an important history of Islam, as well as a Koranic commentary, still widely referenced at present. His gloss on Koran 3:26 states:
This Ayah [verse] encourages thanking Allah for the favors He granted His Messenger [Muhammad] and his Ummah [the Muslim community]. Allah transferred the prophethood from the Children of Israel to the Arab, Qurayshi [Muhammad’s Arab tribe], Meccan, unlettered Prophet, the Final and Last of all Prophets…Hereafter, Allah allowed Muhammad’s Ummah to reach the eastern and western parts of the world and gave dominance to his religion [Islam] and Law [Sharia] over all other religions and laws.
Al-Suyuti (1445–1505) is recognized as the most prolific author in the realm of Islamic literature. A brilliant multidisciplinary scholar, al-Suyuti was a learned jurist, historian, and biographer. Among his many scholarly contributions are about twenty works of Koranic studies, including seminal Koranic commentaries (tafsir), such as Tafsir al-Jalalayn. The great contemporary Dutch Islamologist Johannes J.G. Jansen notes in his treatise “The Interpretation of the Koran in Modern Egypt,” Tafsir al-Jalalayn remains one of the most popular as well as the most authoritative Koranic commentaries in Egypt. Suyti’s gloss on Koran 3:26 reiterates the earlier interpretation of Ibn Kathir, maintaining:
This [Koran 3:26] was revealed when the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] promised his Community [the Muslims] sovereignty over Persia and Byzantium and the hypocrites said, “How unlikely!”
Lastly, Maulana Muhammad Shafi (1898-1976), a former grand mufti of India (prior to the August, 1947 partition), was the author of Maariful Qur’an, which remains the best-known Koranic commentary in Urdu. He also wrote more than three hundred books, and in addition to these literary works, broadcasted his Koranic commentary on Radio Pakistan for a number of years. Mufti Shafi’s modern gloss on Koran 3:26 establishes a 600-year consensus of opinion, adding ominous, threatening contemporary overtones of ongoing Islamic conquests, in our era:
Appearing in the form of a prayer, this verse so eloquently brings into focus the most perfect power of Allah as it manifests itself in the rise and fall of nations and in the revolutions that rock countries. At the same time it gives a hint that the prophecy made by the Holy Prophet [Muhammad] will come to pass and Persia and Byzantium will fall to Muslims. Here, enemies of Islam have been warned that they have not learned their lesson from the rise and fall of past wielders of power for they judge events and personalities from the material angle while the truth is that all powers and governments of the world are in the hands of the most pristine power of Allah, the one in whose hands lies all honor and disgrace.
“The Qur’an: An Encyclopedia” is a modern authoritative compendium of analyses written by 43 Muslim and non-Muslim mainstream academic experts, edited by Oliver Leaman, and published by Routledge, New York, 2006. These extracts from p. 614 serve as an irrefragable “final summary verdict”—consistent with over a millennium of authoritative Muslim exegeses on this verse—about how Muslims and non-Muslims alike are to understand Koran 1:7, the Fatiha’s (sura 1’s) last verse:
…[T]he phrase in the daily prescribed prayers” Guide us to the straight path, to the path of those you have blessed, not of those who incurred [Your] wrath, nor of the misguided (al-Fatiha, 1:5-7.)…mention two groups of people but do not say who they are. The Prophet [Muhammad] interpreted those who incurred God’s wrath as the Jews and the misguided as the Christians.
The Jews, we are told [i.e., in both the Koran, and hadith] killed many of their prophets, and through their character and materialistic tendencies have contributed much to moral corruption, social upheaval and sedition in the world…[T]hey were readily misled and incurred both God’s wrath and ignominy. As for the Christians…over time they succumbed to the influence of those who had already deviated from the chosen path. By the time Christianity came to be accepted as the official religion of the Roman Empire, many Christians had long gone astray and had been deprived of their original scripture…By interpreting the phrase “not of those who incurred [Your] wrath, nor of the misguided” the Prophet identified them and clarified in what way and by what beliefs and deeds a man incurs God’s wrath. This is a warning for the Muslims not to follow in the footsteps of the Jews and Christians.
Perhaps a sympathetic understanding of the National Cathedral’s submissive—and dangerously misguided—behavior can be found in the work of Father Michel Hayek (1928-2005). Hayek was a Lebanese Maronite scholar who produced a corpus of work that included over forty published books, scores of treatises, and innumerable articles. His 1959 book Le Christ de L’Islam has been re-published in two revised editions, and remains an important reference work. Following its initial publication in 1959—reflecting the profundity of his understanding—Father Hayek became a widely sought after lecturer for talks and conferences on Muslim-Christian relations.
During a lecture entitled ‘Nouvelles approches de l’islam,’ given on March 6, 1967, (recorded in Les Conférences du Cénacle, Beirut, 1968, Nos. 9-10, XXII année, p. 11, as quoted in Bat Ye’or, Juifs et Chrétiens, p. 309, n. 45 [English trans.].), Father Hayek, spoke plainly about the enduring historical impact of the continuum of Islamic depredations upon Christians and Christianity.
Why not admit it clearly, so as to break a taboo and a political interdict, which is felt in the flesh and the Christian conscience—that Islam has been the most appalling torment that ever struck the Church. Christian sensibility has remained traumatized until now.
Far less generously, historian Robert Conquest identified a salient feature of the delusive mindset of apologists for Soviet era Communist totalitarianism shared by today’s useful idiots for totalitarian Islam, such as the National Cathedral leadership—willing intellectual and ethical blindness.
[A] con job needs a con man and a sucker. In their case many suckers even managed not to take in what they saw with their own eyes, or rather somehow to process unpleasantness mentally into something acceptable…Mindset seems too strong a word: these were minds like jelly, ready for the master’s imprint…[T]his was an intellectual and moral disgrace on a massive scale.
Pronouncements of (and behaviors by) National Cathedral officials, vis-à-vis their so-called “ecumenical” Muslim prayer service exercise, similarly constitute an “intellectual and moral disgrace on a massive scale.”