Muslim Militarism

Messengers of God come in dire times, like Muhammad who came for the tribes of Arabia living
in the utmost state of degradation…bloodthirsty and barbarous, so savage…that the Arabian father often buried his own daughter alive.…Could any barbarism be lower than this? The nation consisted of warring, hostile tribal peoples…fighting and pillaging each other, making captive women and children, killing each other. Muhammad…educated and unified these barbarous tribes.…They reached such a degree of civilization that they subdued and governed continents and nations. What a great civilization was established in Spain by the Muslims! What a marvelous civilization was founded in Morocco by the Moors! What a powerful caliphate…was set up in Baghdad![1]
Aptly this description leaves out the Umayyad Caliphate, Ottoman Sultanate, and Qajar Dynasty.
Muhammad refurbished the laws of the Old and New Testament. His Quran taught love and submission to the one God. His teachings promoted family and community, protected the weak, the poor, and the sick, and even underpinned the European Renaissance. His Islam founded the world’s first universities, translated and preserved Greek and other classics, injected the zero and algebra into mathematics, and designed new architecture. For Europeans, the benefits of Islam were seen most clearly in Spain where
Muslim rule brought great progress, order, peace and plenty, promotion of freedom and equality, regard of rulers for their subjects. Countries under Muslim rule were exempt from the disastrous consequences of the feudal system and the feudal code.…Muslim legislation freed the soil and assured the rights of individuals. Spain had greatly suffered from barbarian hordes and the people had been weighted down with feudal burdens.…Vast areas were deserted.…Under the Muslims, people and land were enfranchised, cities sprang up, order was established, Muslims and non-Muslims—Suevi, Goth, Vandal, Roman and Jew—were placed on equal footing, intermarriage took place.…The Arabs colonized the depopulated areas, bringing in large industrious communities from Africa and Asia, including 50,000 Jews, with their families, at one time; the generous offers of the Muslims attracted these peoples.[2]
Muhammad honored Jews, Christians, Sabaeans, and Zoroastrians (probably) as People of the Book, telling his Muslims to respect and protect these fellow-monotheists. He told Jews and Christians that:
Our God and your God is the same
We believe in God…and in what has been given to Moses and Jesus.…No difference do we make between any of them
You have no sure ground unless you uphold the Torah, the Gospel
Let us jointly state that we worship God alone, ascribe no partner to Him, and none of us take others beside God as Lords, and
Believe in what We have sent down to confirm what you already have.[3]
But at the same time, in various historical contexts, the Quran condemns non-Muslims. It denounces People of the Book who disbelieve as the worst of creatures. It forbids Muslims to take Jews and Christians as allies, for God does not guide such wrongdoers. It rejoices how Allah brought People of the Book down from their strongholds and put terror into their hearts, and that Muslims killed some…and took some captive, and gained their lands, homes, and possessions.[4]Taken out of context, such verses justify the armed jihaddoctrine of Muslim Militarism.
Yet surely all Faiths, not just Islam, have had armed doctrines and have waged their own forms of genocidal jihad? Yes indeed. Three thousand years ago the Israelites killed the Amalakites to their very last man.[5] Yes, in 1099 Christian crusaders systematically slaughtered all Jerusalem’s 30,000 Jews and Muslims over three bloody days—everyone, whether male or female…like vermin.[6]So why is Muslim Militarism different? The answer is that Islam historically had a very short lead time for spiritual development before it concocted armed doctrines and took the killing road. The other Faiths had centuries of lead time before they began killing. If notionally say Christianity had gone crusading as early as AD40, it would be as militaristic as Islam is today. Over fourteen centuries Muslim Militarism has probably killed more folk than the combined militarisms of Sabaeanism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity have over fourteen millennia.

Since the normal “gestational period” of Messengers of God is about a thousand years,[7] then the “expected date of delivery” of Muhammad should have been around AD 1000, But the horrendous barbaric violence of the Arabian tribes meant that Muhammad came four centuries early as it were born “in the sixth month”. His short spiritual gestation and premature advent brought the tribes of Arabia spiritual escape from the distress of their barbarism, just as premature birth brings a fetus physical escape from the distress of its asphyxia. But the price was high. Islam paid dear for the early advent of Muhammad in the form of Muslim Militarism, just as a baby and its family can pay dear for premature delivery in the form of brain-damage.




[1] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, PUP 346–47
[2] Ameer Ali,442 The Spirit of Islam . . . (London: W.H. Allen Co., 1891; Christophers, 1935), cited by Gail, Six Lessons on Islam 3.14
[3] Quran 29.45, 3.84, 5.68, 3.64, & 4.47
[4] People of the Book who disbelieve, Quran 98.5
Take Jews and Christians, Quran 5.51–55
People of the Book down from,Quran 33.25/26
[5] He was King Agag who was executed by Samuel, 1Sam. 15:32-34.
[6] Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 274
[7] Baha'u'llah, KI 199