I’ve been trying to fairly research Islam despite my sinfulness. I know we are to respect every Muslim for his/her intrinsic goodness, their human dignity and equality with us, their submission to God, and their commitment to the moral life.
I am not in the least wanting to offend Muslims, who may be living much better lives before God than myself. I’m also aware that I tend to focus on the negative–about everything–and that I am reacting in part to the politically correct approach to Islam which I find to be inaccurate.
I also know that Pope Francis has also said that authentic Islam and a proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence
Personally, I can’t figure out how he can say that. And that would not be a teaching on Catholic faith and morals, so would not be a matter of the ordinary Magisterium, would it?
I can understand speaking up very strongly for the dignity and intelligence and goodness of Muslims as our brothers in sisters. But why does that mean defending Islam itself?
In other words, I don’t understand such a seemingly-extreme defense of Islam itself as a belief system.
I’ve read, in the past, a book by Robert Spencer–I believe it was called “Islam Unveiled”–which was endorsed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa whom I respect. Spencer I believe is also connected with Catholic Answers. I’ve found articles or radio talks by him on the cite.
Spencer’s site–“Jihad Watch”–gives an article called Islam 101 which says that Islam itself–not Muslims as persons-- is a “fascist” religion and claims that Islam is purposed to conquer the world for Allah–by force, as needed, and by making second class citizens or virtual slaves of non-Muslims (see Quran 9:29, 9:5, 8:39, 2:190-193. if I remember right). He says that Islam itself involves telling people lies in order to make people believe that Islam is a religion of peace.
I don’t want to focus on the negative, but it does seem like we should have a clear idea of both the good and bad actions of Muhammad, since–as I understand it-- Islam bases everything they believe on his teachings and actions, as the basis of all their conduct.
It is obviously very good that he proclaimed the one God and rejected idolatry opposed such things as adultery and theft, and approved of charitable giving, prayer five times a day (a very good things!), and pilgrimage.
I need help seeing more of the good that Muhammad did.
Please correct me if you believe any of the below are inaccurate or misinterpretations of a passage in the Muslim writings. Again, I don’t want to be unfair or disrespectful to Islam, to Muslims, or to anyone. I’m just in the process of gathering evidence and forming an opinion of a belief system, not a critique of Muslims in general or Muslims as individuals.
I don’t remember many of the references, but from the quotations I’ve looked at in the Quran and Hadith, it appears that Muhammed also taught some very bad things.
The primary texts I used were from the University of Southern Calfornia’s Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement.
I’m aware that things can be very different from what they seem.
Apparently, Muhammad ordered Muslims to violently conquer the world world until everyone is either Muslim or subdued as a second class citizen. Also, sleeping even with married slaves. Also, that he married a nine year old named Aisha (in Bukhari). That he sanctioned rape of female war captives and the murder of women and children during war. That he had numerous sex slaves in addition to 13 wives in total. Apparently he said that Jews and Christians are cursed by God. It seems he approved the assassination of a man who wrote poetry which was negative toward Muslim women. as well as other assassinations. It seems that he granted men unrestricted sexual access to their wives (and sex slaves), referring to women as “fields” into which husbands can go when they will (Quran 2:223). That he approved the murder or performed himself the murder of 700 Jews of the tribe called Quraiza. And that he sanctioned wife battery (Quran 4:34) and hit his wife Aisha. and that he even told his wives when they could answer the call of nature.
It seems that Islam after Muhammed immediately continued Muhammed’s ways after his death, as the Islam belief system spread by brutal force through the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and into Europe, Russia, Asia Minor, etc.
Of course, he was a sinner like all of us. However, again, since Islam believe his life is the perfect pattern of conduct, should not such things be discussed honestly and mercifully in the West so that we understand what Islam itself is?
Of course, as the Catholic Encyclopedia suggests, he began his preaching sincerely, and he also taught many sound principles of morality as I understand it–and I believe the Catholic Encyclopedia states that–and often affirmed the mercy of God, and also other things such as the virgin birth–and, I believe–the perpetual virginity of our Mother Mary.
I would like help in understanding more of the good side of Muhammed and how God has brought good out of Muhammad’s life and preaching and religion. And how God was at work in Muhamad’s life.
Please help me to process these things and to have a balanced picture of Islam.
Another question I have as a Catholic, and in response to the Oxford UNion debate involving a man named Hassan regarding whether Islam is a “religion of peace”…
Would it be true to say that Christian countries–despite such non-CHristian horrors as Soviet Communism, the Nazi Holocaust, the wars between Catholics and Protestants, etc–have been better at safeguarding human rights and dignity?
Anyway, I hope I am asking things fairly and being respectful as I wrestle with these issues on this feast of Mary the Mother of God, who is the Mother of all human beings.
Thank you. Peace of Mary and Jesus, Pat