I just heard former New York Police Department Commissioner Howard Safir aptly characterize San Bernadino, CA Muslim jihadist murderer Syed Farook, and his accomplice Saudi Muslim wife, Tafsheen Malik, as “true believers.” Indeed Safir’s description comports neatly with this candid assessment of Farook by the murderer’s own father:
He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.
These revealing words by Farook’s father and even more importantly Safir’s apposite characterization recall the late Eric Hoffer’s (d. 1983) observations on Islam from his seminal study of fanatical mass movements, The True Believer.
Islam obtained from its coerced converts ‘a faith ever tending to grow stronger.’ Fanatical orthodoxy is in all movements a late development. It comes when the movement is in full possession of power and can impose its faith by force as well as by persuasion.
A daily example of such mainstream “devout” Muslim fanaticism is the multiply repeated recitation of the Koranic verse, sura (chapter) 1, verse 7. Pious Muslims repeat Koran 1:7 up to 17 times a day, as part of the five daily prayer sessions, consistent with this admonition, recorded by the great medieval Koranic commentator and historian Ibn Kathir (d. 1373):
[R] eciting the Opening of the Book [the Fatiha, verses Koran 1:1 to 1:7], during the prayer by the Imam and those praying behind him is required in every prayer, and in every Ra’kah [unit of prayer]”)
Koran 1:7, specifically, is where Muslims ask Allah to guide them rightly, not in the path of those who provoke and must bear His wrath. An authoritative modern Koranic translation by Drs. Muhammad al-Hilali and Muhammad Khan (p.12) of the Koran 1:7 includes parenthetical references to the Jews (after the word “anger”), and the Christians (after the word “astray’):
“The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).”
The Hilali-Khan translation of Koran 1:7 provides s a detailed justification of its references to the Jews as those who have engendered Allah’s anger, and the Christians as the ones who have gone astray, based on a canonical tradition of Muhammad, wherein the Muslim prophet himself identifies the Jews as those who “earned” Allah’s anger, and the Christians as those who “went astray.”
Authoritative exegeses on Koran 1:7 spanning the late 7th through early 21st centuries, concur, from Ibn Abbas (d. 687), Muqatil ibn Sulayman (d. 767), Tabari (d. 923), and Qurtubi (d. 1273), through Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (d. 1976), and the analyses written by 43 Muslim and non-Muslim mainstream academic experts in the 2006 publication, The Qur’an: An Encyclopedia. For example the consensus gloss from this latter standard academic reference, states:
…[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.)…mentions two groups of people but does 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 [i.e., Islam]. 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.
Thus pious, “very religious” Muslims like jihadist butcher Syed Farook, who “would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back” repeat an eternal curse on Jews and Christians 17 times a day. Look no further than this daily “religious ritual” for the mainstream Islamic fanaticism that engenders callous acts of jihad murder by Muslim “true believers.”