The fate of the Apostates, from Al Bukhari

Al Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 261:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

A group of eight men from the tribe of 'Ukil came to the Prophet and then they found the climate of Medina unsuitable for them. So, they said, "O Allah's Apostle! Provide us with some milk." Allah's Apostle said, "I recommend that you should join the herd of camels." So they went and drank the urine and the milk of the camels (as a medicine) till they became healthy and fat. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after they were Muslims. When the Prophet was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails which were heated and passed over their eyes, and whey were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody provided them with water till they died (Abu Qilaba, a sub-narrator said, "They committed murder and theft and fought against Allah and His Apostle, and spread evil in the land.")


David said…
Wow. What a "religion of peace".
Samuel said…
A Muslim can, with at least some modest justification, say that these "Ukil people" got their just punishment for killing the shepherd (with disproportionate retribution), not just for their apostasy. But in fact, there are other passages that show that being an unbeliever by itself is bad enough. I think I've seen some of them in the Hadiths but I have not kept a record of them (in my Islam file), except where the Hadiths speak about killing Jews and cursing Christians.

In any case, a very damning one can be found in the Quran (which is the most authoritative over the Hadiths with Muslims). Here is one of the terrorist suras in the Quran that teaches Muslims how unbelievers are to be treated:

Sura 8.12. Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."

It doesn't become more religion of peace than this. (And certainly not quite in accord with the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.)

Though there may be 'bad' things in the Bible and the Talmud, there is nothing in them that teaches Jews and Christians to go around smiting those who do not believe in Judaism or Christianity. That is why this Muslim teaching is a unique oddity that lends it to the crises we experienced for centuries and still today. It is exactly what brought about the Crusades as Christendom's political response to Islam's bellicose & expansionist threats.

Here are more terror suras for anyone interested to look them up in the Quran. Suras 4.56, 8.39, 8.60, 9.29-30, 9.123, 47.4.
2“If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, ​in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or ​the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you ​shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6 ​On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 ​The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So s​you shall purge​ the evil​ from your midst." - Deuteronomy 17:2-7
Samuel said…
That Deuteronomic passage is thoughtful in that it stipulates diligent inquiry and witnesses before action (which the Quran does not). It is referring to an evil in the sight of God where transgression of the law was committed---and that would be state law---and has gone to serve other gods, etc. That's a whole different kettle of fish from smiting unbelievers (people who never believed in the first place) especially unbelievers not living under Muslim law. (As far as Paul is concerned, the OT law was nailed to the cross, along with stoning. We are now under a New Covenant.)
Brother Samuel,

I was responding to the hadith that Abu Daoud quoted above. But, since you brought up the Qur'anic passages as well:

I would encourage you to evaluate both sets of religious writings with the same standard. If you would like to claim a particular context for the Biblical passages, I would encourage you to look for the same in the Qur'anic passages... maybe even go down to your local Mosque and ask the Imam whether or not this passage is to apply to all Muslims at all times or if it was context specific and why or why not.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East
Samuel said…
Hi FTME. Long time no speak.

I have talked to Muslims (years ago) about many such controversial passages in the Quran but all I heard were rationalizations of the issue in order to put on a good face on a damning verse. I did hear them and gave them a chance, but all they did is change the meaning, and not really explain the "context."

As for the point at hand, and as you probably noted above, I have in fact pointed out that the context of the Hadith verse that Abu Daoud cited does not quite lend itself to as much criticism (because of the killing of the Shepherd in that story). So I gave it its contextual due. However, the context of the Quranic verse that I cited makes no qualifications on the unbelievers. In fact, that is why most jihadist Islamists take the Quran at its word when it says about unbelievers: to "smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." I read the context of that verse and it makes no other qualifications. The Quran thinks in black and white terms: Believers and Unbelievers. (And 8.12 makes that distinction clear.) Going and speaking to a Muslim cleric in North America only guarantees that he will give it a "politically correct" meaning. (I've seen it many times.) It's like Yasser Arafat. When he speaks in English he says one thing, but when he goes back home and speaks Arabic, he says the opposite. Same thing with Muslim theology (esp when Westerners are listening).
Brother Samuel,

I've had a lot going on recently and have been keeping blog comments to a minimum. But could not resist on these two posts ;^)

I wonder if what you call rationalization on the part of the Muslims you spoke with years ago is not the same as what we call hermeneutics when speaking of our own religious beliefs. Certainly we do not go around destroying entire cities and taking the women and children as slaves (sometimes even killing them)! (Joshua 6, 9 & 10) Nor do we keep bloody sheets from the wedding night just in case our sons-in-law accuse our daughters of unchastity! (Deut 22) Nor do we require young ladies who are raped to marry their attackers! (Deut 22) Yet those passages are clearly there.

Could it be that we are being a little unfair when we call it good hermeneutics when we say a passage does not apply to us in the same way it did to our forefathers, but go with some kind of conspiracy theory when Muslims tell us the same about their book? I wonder how much sense our explaining away of some of the Old Testament passages due to fulfillment makes to Muslims?

The last word & God's peace to you brother,
From the Middle East
Samuel said…
But could not resist on these two posts ;^)

So you have succumbed to temptation, I see.

Yet those passages are clearly there.

Yes, that's why I stated earlier that we have our share of 'bad' passages. But the difference is that they are not commandments for Christians to keep---quite unlike the Quranic directive to kill unbelievers. So much of OT law (as in the Leviticus), like circumcision, are no longer binding in the New Covenant.

Could it be that we are being a little unfair when we call it good hermeneutics when we say a passage does not apply to us in the same way it did to our forefathers, but go with some kind of conspiracy theory when Muslims tell us the same about their book?

There is no conspiracy theory. Muslims and their prophet made their position quite clear and there is no equivocation in what they said (in writing) or did (in history). And that's the threat we face today. Muhammad said in his farewell address:

"I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' (Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 387.)

I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (Muslim, Book 001, Number 0033.)

And of course you have the Quran to backup and emphasize this teaching in various ways:

Sura 9.29 "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

Sura 9.5 "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them..."

That, of course, has set up an example for other Muslim leaders to follow:

Saladin: I shall cross this sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.

Ayatollah Khomeini: We will export our revolution throughout the world ... until the calls 'there is no god by Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah' are echoed all over the world.

And we have Osama bin Laden following the example of his master:

Osama bin Laden: I was ordered to fight the people until they say there s no go but Allah and his prophet Muhammad.

See, for example, Islamic Imperialism - A History, by Ephraim Karsh.

So it should come as no surprise that their followers who hold banners saying "kill the unbelievers" (in accordance with their teachings), "behead those who insult Islam," etc. The historical expansionist nature of Islam and their continual wars against the unbelievers (even today) are fulfillment of their understanding of the Quran's directive to fight the unbelievers as Muhammad has taught them and done so himself. There is no ambiguity nor hermeneutics here. Their historical actions are in accordance with their teaching, as well as their current trouble making around the world today.

I wonder how much sense our explaining away of some of the Old Testament passages due to fulfillment makes to Muslims?

I don't explain them away, how can I? They are there for anyone to read. I face them. Do you explain them away? The Bible condemns David's sin (and even records it) and does not rationalize it.

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