ISIS’s Anti-Islamic Theology of Rape

As a Christian with many Muslim friends, I cannot allow ISIS to set the theological terms of Islam. When an ISIS fighter prostrates himself in prayer before and after raping a woman or a girl, he is not praying to Allah. He is praying to the devil.

This is a well-intentioned but mistaken approach.

As Christians, we do not have the right to declare what is or is not “Islamic.”

We can note that most Muslims condemn ISIS. We can point to elements in Islamic tradition and exegesis that contradict the vile interpretations of ISIS. But we don’t have the right to set ourselves up as authorities on the doctrinal parameters of Islam.


Wahabists aren’t considered Muslim by other Muslims. They mostly exist only in Saudi Arabia and ISIS, and analysts in the United States define them completely differently than do actual adherents of Islam.

Rape isn’t any more Islamic than it is Christian. All of this can be quite confusing due to the non-stop hate speech pouring out of the United States and Israel, which is aimed at demonizing Islam as a whole.

Picking funerals isn’t any more Christian as it is atheistic, and yet we all acknowledge that the Westboro Baptist church members do it with religious motivations, namely their twisted christian theology. We can debate that they are not “true Christians” (of course people say the same about Catholics), we can argue that they have twisted and perverted the Christian theology, but in general they are still considered “Christians” despite the hatred that they spew.

So of course rape isn’t any more Islamic than it is Christian, but they are now doing it with religious motivations or at least religious justifications. Even though the have twisted it, their theology is still rooted in Islam.

It works both ways, too, because Wahabists don’t consider Shias and Sunnis to be Islamic either. That’s why ISIS fighters hunt them and butcher them on a daily basis. There’s apparently a passage in the Qur’an which is the Muslim equivalent of Deuteronomy 21:10-14, and I think that should give us all a good understanding of the kinds of manipulative people who would make this kind of distorted claim. I mean, how many Jews and Christians believe rape is part of our religions? None. And yet it seems to be in the Old Testament.

I do not think that this is generally true. Sunnis, in my experience, usually avoid declaring other Muslims “non-Muslim.” That is precisely one of the ways in which Wahhabis and other radicals who follow in the tradition of Ibn Taymiyyah depart from mainstream Sunni orthodoxy. But ironically and tragically, this orthodoxy works for them, because the very people whom they excommunicate are slow to return the favor. I admire this aspect of the Sunni tradition very much, even though under some circumstances it may have unfortunate results.

I’m sure you can find Muslims who say that Wahhabis are not Muslims. But I’d need to see quite a bit of evidence before I’d be convinced that it’s a general position.

They mostly exist only in Saudi Arabia and ISIS

This is untrue, unfortunately. Due to Saudi oil money, many mosques in other parts of the world are very heavily influenced by Wahhabism. And since one of the marks of Wahhabis is that they don’t call themselves Wahhabis (because in their mind “Wahhabism” is just “real Islam”) their presence is not obvious, even before we get to the many Muslims who may have accepted some Wahhabi ideas without buying into the whole package. For example, at the mosque I used to visit in Fort Wayne, I don’t believe they celebrated Muhammad’s birthday, and I was certainly told that God has a body (both of these are mentioned in the article you cite below as Wahhabi distinctives), but they spoke of Wahhabis as if they were a group that really did exist and to which they did not belong (which a full-blown Wahhabi wouldn’t, I believe).

In short, I am unconvinced that the line is as sharp as you are making it.

and analysts in the United States define them completely differently than do actual adherents of Islam.

I don’t know which analysts these are or how they make this determination, but I think that’s a mistake.

This is an excellent article, which I have read before. However, it speaks consistently of “orthodox Sunnis” vs. “Wahhabis,” and even at one point speaks of how Wahhabis are different from “other Muslims.” So your own source refutes your claim that Muslims as a whole don’t consider Wahhabis Muslims. This article considers them to be unorthodox Muslims who do not follow the authentic Sunnah.

Rape isn’t any more Islamic than it is Christian.

Again, normatively I have no right to speak on what is or is not Islamic. If Muslims say that rape is “un-Islamic,” good for them. I certainly repudiate it as a Christian.

However, historically it appears to me that in fact the sexual enslavement of women has been accepted by Muslims in a way it has not ever formally been accepted by Christians. Sometimes that resulted in more horrific behavior by Christians. I once read a Crusade chronicle (but alas can’t remember which one) that described finding female camp followers after the defeat of the Islamic army that tried to relieve the siege of Antioch in the First Crusade. The chronicler reported smugly, “We did not do anything evil to them, but thrust our spears through them.” Muslims would have been more likely to do the opposite–the hadith clearly forbid killing female enemies on purpose even if they take up weapons (it is condoned only in the case of a night attack where you can’t see if the enemy is a man or a woman), but Islamic sources do, in fact, sanction having sex with captured women, and as far as I can see this did not traditionally depend on the woman’s consent. In this sense rape does have a place in Islam that it has never had in Christianity. (Which is not the same thing as claiming that Christian armies have never raped–they often did, but it was always condemned by the Church.) There are some areas, like marital rape, where I wish the Church had been clearer. In looking this up, I also found, for instance, a passage in Gratian’s Decretum saying that a girl who was forced by her stepfather to marry at the age of eleven was validly married because she went on living with her husband for a year and a half. In other words, while the Church did require consent, its interpretation of what consent meant was often, by our standards today, extremely broad.

So I am not claiming that Christians have a perfect record here, but I don’t think the two traditions are, historically, equal.


Oh, of course. That was my point in the post above. Mainstream Sunnis can’t do this, because then they would be like the Wahhabis. It’s part of their principles that anyone who sincerely says that there is one God and that Muhammad is his prophet is a Muslim, even if he/she has all kinds of aberrant beliefs and practices. At least that’s how I understand it.

There’s apparently a passage in the Qur’an which is the Muslim equivalent of Deuteronomy 21:10-14, and I think that should give us all a good understanding of the kinds of manipulative people who would make this kind of distorted claim. I mean, how many Jews and Christians believe rape is part of our religions? None. And yet it seems to be in the Old Testament.

Right. It’s a question of how, in fact, the passage has been interpreted.


Fantastic post, Contarini!:thumbsup: I’m glad I checked back on this thread; I usually don’t.

I’m sure what you say is correct, but you’ve gone much deeper than I was attempting to. And thanks, your post was enlightening. I was merely trying to address the question of the theology of rape in a general sort of way. All the Abrahamic religions seem to have vestiges of it, depending upon how twisted one’s interpretations are.

As far as Wahabism goes, you’re undoubtedly correct. I’ve spoken to Muslims here in Seattle, and also in Portland, and I’ve been told point-blank that Wahabists are not Muslim. I have nothing else to go on other than what I’ve been told face to face. As you suggest, I suppose I must have been talking with Shia individuals; I just don’t know.:shrug: I would never ask something like that, because it would just seem rude to me. I don’t know though, I suppose at some point we’re all going to have to take a much greater interest in comparative religion, just for politeness’ sake, if nothing else. The way Western religious demographics are changing, at some point we’re all going to have to learn this stuff. But thanks again; I found your posts illuminating.:slight_smile:

Koran 33:50
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves)** whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war **whom Allah has assigned to thee

Koran 23:5
who abstain from sex, EXCEPT with those joined to them in the marriage bond, OR (the captives) whom their right hands possess

Koran 4:24
And all married women (are forbidden unto you) **save those **(captives) whom your right hands possess

And 1 Hadith ( out of many pertaining to this issue )

Abu Dawud (2150)
“The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Qur’an 4:24) ‘And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.’”

Unfortunately, the rape of “non Muslim” girls, even in front of their husbands…
…Is authorized in the Koran & further confirmed in Hadith.

While “some” in the West cringe at these type of teachings it’s par for the course…
…For Cultures that practice Sharia Law - it’s simply Islam 101.

Finally something sensible.

It’s unfortunate that political correctness trumps truth these days more often then not…
…Even when the truth of a thing is so close the blood spatter gets all over your cloths.
…those people of “western culture” who live in the west have exactly the perception of Islam “real Muslims” want them to have.

They will need to spend some time as a “non-Muslim” in an Islamic controlled country to get it figured out…
…Short of that OR taking the time to actually read the Koran for themselves and connect the dots.
…They will continue to push an alien version of Islam that frankly doesn’t exist outside of the west.

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