Islam(ists) and religious world domination

Islamic terrorism may eventually be defeated in its large manifestations, like the one we saw on 9/11, but built into earliest Islam is an ultimate goal of religious world domoination, whether carried out by violent or peaceful means, as seen in the Quran, the Hadith (the record of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad), and the sunna (the example or path of Muhammad).

Osama bin Laden and Abu—Musab al—Zarqawi, the Jordanian who beheads innocent workers in Iraq, are open about this goal, as we see in these fatwas, statements, and interviews before and after 9/11.

In Osama's August 1996 fatwa declaring war against the US, he claims that Islamic revival is occurring around world, and especially around the Muslim world:

Under the present circumstances [of Zionist—Crusader aggressions], and under the banner of the blessed awakening which is sweeping the world in general and the Islamic world in particular, I meet with you today.

In March 1997 Peter Arnett interviews Osama, who says the goal of jihad is to exalt God's word [the Quran] to the heights, in other words, until the message of his Holy Book goes around the world.

For [subordination to the Jews and occupation of Arabia] and other acts of aggression and injustice, we have declared jihad against the US, because in our religion it is our duty to make jihad so that God's word is the one exalted to the heights and so that we drive the Americans away from all Muslim countries.

His absurd goal of driving out Americans from all Islamic lands has been answered here.

In May 1998 Jonathan Miller, then a reporter with ABC News, now a consultant on terrorism for Los Angeles, interviews Osama, who believes that he is a servant of Allah and that his primary mission is to spread by fighting the religion of light.

I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion. ...

In November 2001, after 9/11, Osama allows an interview  with Hamid Mir, the editor of an Arabic—language journal. The terrorist pulls back a little from his wish to slaughter innocent people, though he has said in numerous other statements and interviews that he is justified in doing so. His mission is to spread the Quran:

Hamid Mir: Can it be said that you are against the American government, not the American people?

Osama: Yes! We are carrying on the mission of our Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The mission is to spread the word of God, not to indulge [in] massacring people.

In December 2001 Osama records a video in which he and a sheikh extol the 9/11 attacks. He states his goal clearly:

I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.

In that same video Osama reports that after the attacks many converted to Islam, and many others were at least curious about true Islam, in the sense of possibly converting to it.

Some of them said that in Holland, at one of the centers, the number of people who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations were more than the people who accepted Islam in the last eleven years. I heard someone on Islamic radio who owns a school in America say: 'We don't have time to keep up with the demands of those who are asking
about Islamic books to learn about Islam.' This event made people think (about true Islam) which benefited Islam greatly.

On September 11, 2004, the three—year anniversary of 9/11, al—Zarqawi assumes  that spreading Islam around the world is difficult, but that the holy warriors should not give up:

As for you, fighters who came from afar, by Allah, missions of da'wa [the propagation of Islam] have never been a road lined with roses and sweet basil; the price of da'wa missions is heavy, and the price of bringing principles to the land of reality is a lot of torn limbs and blood. The light of dawn shall not be lit in this darkness save by Jihad fighters and shahids.

Thus, in the words of these two visible terrorists—and even non—violent radicals and zealots agree, as we will see, below—the ultimate goal of Islam is to spread the message and ways of Allah around the world because Islam is the gift of God, the greatest seal and capstone of inferior Judaism and Christianity. How is this goal best manifested and carried out? In following the Quran and sharia (Islamic law), which expresses God's will and ways in a pristine form. Ultimately, violent and non—violent radicals want religious world domination.

Where do Osama and al—Zarqawi get this goal of spreading Islam around the world? Out of thin air? Why do not Evangelical Christians use violence and other extreme means to spread their message? After all, Christ said to go into all the world and preach the gospel. What is the difference between the two religions in their outlook and methods of promulgation?

As for Islam, the Quran states unequivocally the superiority and triumph of Islam over all religions in three different verses: 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33. We analyze these three verses methodically. First, it is better to use the translations of Muslim scholars, not those of Western scholars, in order to forestall the criticism of Western bias. Next, it is also crucial that we analyze the historical context and the literary context of each verse. The historical context reveals the occasion in which Muhammad received his revelations—traditionally thought to be transmitted to him from God through Gabriel. Sometimes this is difficult to discover, but not with these three verses, fortunately. The literary or textual context is important because other verses surrounding these three illuminate their meaning more clearly than the three verses standing in isolation. Then, we interpret the import of the verses, and finally we draw some inferences.

Quran 61:9 is analyzed first:

Maulana Muhammad Ali is an apologist (defender) for Islam, more than an objective scholar, and he translates as follows:

61:9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists are averse. (Maulana)

The following translation is approved and funded by the Saudi Royal family; the parenthetical explanations are original:

61:9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the MushrikŻn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad) hate (it). (Hilali and Khan)

The word 'religion' is really singular. And this translation by Majid Fakhry, emeritus (retired) professor at the American University in Lebanon, living now in the US, is approved by al—Azhar University, Egypt, the most prestigious university in the Islamic world, and catches the meaning of the singular:

61:9 It is He Who has sent His Messenger forth with the guidance and the religion of truth, to make it triumph over every religion, even though the idolaters may be averse. (Fakhry)

In many cases, it is a guessing game as to when in history a given sura (chapter) or a passage within a sura was received from Gabriel, but 61:9 was probably received one to three years after the Hijrah (Emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD).

The title of the sura is 'the Ranks,' which comes from 61:4:

61:4 Surely Allah loves those who fight in His ways in ranks, as if they were a solid wall. (Maulana)

The historical context of 61:9, then, is battle and warfare. The verse may refer to the Battle of Badr in 624 AD, in which the Muslims won a stunning victory over a much—larger Meccan army, or it may refer to the Battle of Uhud (625), in which the Muslims did not fare so well, but the loss did not hurt them substantially, for they carried on and grew in power. It is likely that 61:9 was received after the Battle of Badr, for the verse sounds a note of triumph, not defeat. Muhammad was flushed with victory, and in his exuberance he foresees Islam overtaking Christianity, the largest competitor religion in the Greater Middle East.

In fact, the verses just before 61:9—the literary context—show Jesus prophesying the coming of a certain Ahmad, who is Muhammad (v. 6). Disbelievers then accuse Muhammad of sorcery, impute falsehood to Allah, and try to extinguish Allah's Lights (vv. 7—8). Maulana Muhammad Ali in his commentary sees these enemies as either polytheists or Christians whose Trinitarianism is a version of polytheism. Thus, Muhammad the prophet is breaking free from the inferior religion, Christianity (as well as Judaism). And Jesus himself directly approves of Muhammad and the Quran as if to say that Muhammad supercedes him. However, Muhammad provides no evidence that Jesus says this; rather, Muhammad is just making it up, though claiming it comes down from Gabriel.

The two conservative scholars working in Arabia, Drs. Muhammad Taqi—ud—Din Al—Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, interpret 61:9 in a traditional way, citing Imam Bukhari (810—870 AD), a scholar who collected the sayings and deeds of Muhammad in the Hadith. His collection is considered completely reliable and comes second in sacredness behind the Quran. Hilali and Khan connect this hadith to 61:9:

Allah's Messenger said: 'By Him (Allah) in Whose Hand my soul is, surely the son of Mary [Isa (Jesus)] will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims), and will judge mankind justly by the Law of the Quran (as a just ruler) and will break the Cross and kill pigs and abolish the Jizyah [a tax] . . . .'

Thus, Muslims believe that Christ will return as a Muslim, break the cross in a symbolic display to show Christians how wrong they are, and kill pigs, which are unclean animals to Muslims, but which Christians may eat. Indeed, Muslims believe that Christ did not actually die on the cross, but another man took his place. The odd belief of the non—crucifixion has been refuted here.

Undeterred by the questionable, unresearched historicizing that denies the crucifixion, Hilali and Khan themselves offer this warning to Christians, based on Bukhari's hadith:

[I]t is a severe warning to the Christians who claim to be the followers of Isa (Jesus) and he will break the Cross and kill the pigs, and he will abolish the Jizya (tax); and all mankind will be required to embrace Islam with no alternative.

We can draw these inferences from the verse, its historical and literary contexts, and its interpretation: (1) The triumph of Islam in 61:9 comes in the context of warfare. Allah loves soldiers who win in ranks, and Islam will triumph over all religions, but especially over heretical Christianity. (2) Jesus himself prophesies and approves of Muhammad. The later Prophet supercedes Jesus of Nazareth, whom Muslims regard as merely a prophet. (3) Jesus is coming again, as Christians believe, but Jesus will be a leader of the Muslims and will break the cross, which is based on the false doctrine of the atoning work of Christ. (4) Terrorists use the idea of triumph over other religions for their own diabolical purposes. This is especially dangerous since this triumph is found in the context of warfare and violence, according to Muhammad's sunna or example in history.

The second passage is 48:28, and reads nearly identically to 61:9:

The two conservative scholars receiving Saudi support translate as follows:

48:28 He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior to all religions. And All—Sufficient is Allah as a Witness. (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

Majid Fakhry, instead of 'superior,' uses 'exalt it above':

48:28 It is He Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as Witness. (Fakhry)

Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a moderate scholar, has:

48:28 It is He Who has sent his Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over All Religion; and enough is God for a Witness. (Yusuf Ali)

The historical context of Sura 48 takes place during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah in 628. Muhammad had a dream, literally (see 48:27), to take a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the Meccans blocked his way. After a standoff, both sides agreed to a treaty by which Muhammad negotiated, among other terms, the right to a pilgrimage to Mecca a year later in 629, which took place. This truce won many new converts to Islam through peaceful means, not warfare, and 48:28 indicates that Muhammad was so confident, he predicted that his religion would spread out beyond Arabia and be exalted above other religions.

However, warfare is near at hand in Sura 48, as usual in Muhammad's career and in Quranic verses, and this may have contributed to his confidence. In 628, after the Treaty, Muhammad advanced northwards and attacked the city of Kaybar, where a rich tribe of Jews were settled. He was anxious to defeat them because they were inciting enemies against him. But the Jews were inciting enemies against him because he had exiled the Jewish tribe of an—Nadir in 625. This is one more piece of evidence demonstrating how the cycle of violence and revenge could go on and on in Arab culture; Muhammad the God—inspired prophet did not rise above this violent cycle, but skillfully used it to his advantage.

Be that as it may, Muhammad conquered the city and allowed the Jews to cultivate their land, but they had to turn over half the produce to the 1600 Muslims who fought and took part in the attempted pilgrimage in 628 that resulted in the Treaty. Indeed, the last line of 48:27 reads: 'and He also granted you a speedy triumph' (Haleem's translation), and scholars agree that this triumph or victory likely refers to Kaybar.

The literary context is revealing, as well. Allah promises Muhammad and his fledgling religion more victories in Sura 48. For example, verse 22 says that if anyone fights with Muhammad, the enemy will turn his back and run, finding no protector or helper. Most importantly verses 24—26 predict that the sacred Mosque (the Kabah shrine housing the sacred black stone in Mecca) has been granted to Muhammad even before he actually takes possession of it. Later, this will give Muhammad and his followers permission to claim ownership over Jerusalem before they take possession of it, which will generate many problems, even today.

The interpretation of 48:28 should be anchored in the key words 'superior,' 'above,' and 'over,' depending on the translation. Allah's true religion and his guidance (the Quran) will be exalted over all other religions, which echoes Osama's belief that he must fight until God's word is exalted to the heights (see his interview in March 1997, above).

Moreover, Yusuf Ali's translation says that Islam should spread through 'proclamation,' a word choice that does not appear in other translations. This is a peaceful (if inaccurate) rendering of the verse that Muslims should consider as they spread their religion around the world, by proclamation only. Yet, despite this soft translation, the historical context and the overriding content of 48:28 spark a note of triumph in the moderate scholar's commentary on the verse. Says Yusuf Ali:

The divine disposition of events in the coming of Islam and its promulgation by the holy Prophet are themselves evidence of the truth of Islam and its all—reaching character; for there is nothing that it has not influenced.

This reasonable scholar, then, believes that the spread of Islam proves its truth. Though this is a dubious inference, if a moderate holds to this, then so will the terrorists. When they see Islam in recession compared with the West and Christianity, they take action to stop the American 'Crusaders.' This belief drawn from early Islam has triggered the terrorist attacks for the last twenty years, culminating in 9/11.

These inferences can be drawn:

(1) 48:28 itself says that Islam would triumph over all other religions. Osama understands the import of this verse, and desperately wants this to occur, so he takes matters into his own hands and confronts the West, especially the US, which, in his mental world, is a new Crusader.

(2) Muhammad's religion grew through peaceful means, the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, but he could not leave well enough alone, and attacked a Jewish settlement in Kaybar.

(3) Therefore, warfare is close at hand in Muhammad's prediction that Islam would be exalted above and over all other religions. Facts like these inspire terrorists and radicals to ensure the spread of Islam by whatever means possible.

Quran 9:33 is the last verse:

Since this verse repeats the other two, we need use only one translation:

9:33 It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it superior over all religions, though the MushrikŻn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it). (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

The historical context of Sura 9 occurs late in Muhammad's career, and most scholars believe that this section where verse 33 is found reflects Muhammad's northward expansion without material and real provocation, as reputable scholars agree, so Islam was acting aggressively. Specifically, in October to December 630, after the conquest of Mecca in January 630, Muhammad launched a Crusade to Tabuk, a city some 350 miles north of Medina and 250 miles south of Jerusalem. 'Crusade' is the right word, for early Muslim sources say the army had 30,000 men and 10,000 horses, though modern estimates agree that the numbers are exaggerated. Still, whatever the specific number, the army was large.

On his way north, Muhammad extracted (or extorted, really) agreements—without provocation—from smaller Christian Arab tribes to pay the jizyah tax, instead of being attacked and killed. They also had the option to convert, but most did not and agreed, rather, to pay the tax (see Quran 9:29, below). Once the Muslims reached Tabuk, the results were indecisive. The Byzantine army failed to materialize, Muhammad and his large army returned to their homes after ten days.

The verses around 9:33—the literary context—reveal an absolutist outlook, which terrorists and non—violent extremists are quick to pick up on. Because of Muhammad's northward gaze, the polemics against Christianity becomes harsher, as seen here:

9:29 Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

This verse, now famous or infamous, outlines four conditions for fighting, notably the fourth one. Muslims are commanded to fight against the Jews and Christians who do not acknowledge the religion of truth, Islam. The Christians and Jews must submit after battle or avoid battle by paying a special 'protection' tax for the privilege of living under Islam, which was moving northward without provocation. Incidentally, Muslim scholars, and some Western ones, assert that, technically, this policy does not force conversion. To a certain extent that is true, even though the technicality has been called into question here

Next, the following verse curses Christians who say the Messiah (no better than a prophet in Islam) is the Son of God:

9:30 . . . [A]nd the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. . . . Allah's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! (Hilali and Khan)

Moreover, verses 31—32 and 34 claim that Jews and Christians take false leaders to be their lords; that the Christians associate another god, Jesus, with Allah; and that Jews and Christians want to extinguish the light of Allah. Thus, Muhammad's tone and language against Christianity (and Judaism) become shrill.

The interpretation of 9:33 can be short, since it is nearly identical to 61:9 and 48:28. We need only add that Muhammad's vision for a triumphant Islam is repeated three times in the three verses, and his conquests in real life and his vision work hand in glove. As his confidence grows, so does his far—reaching vision of the superiority of his religion.

We can conclude from 9:33 and its historical and literary contexts, as follows:

(1) The largest, most powerful competitor religion was Christianity, and as Muhammad confronts it, his rhetoric against it heats up. Islam is superior to Christianity and will prevail over it. He is leading his Muslim soldiers northward to expand the reach of Islam. Plainly said, this is a Muslim Crusade long before the European Crusades.

(2) Warfare and violence form the context of 9:33, especially 9:29, which contains the word 'fight,' which is directed against those who do not believe in Allah, the End of Day, and Muhammad's declarations on clean and unclean things. But especially Muslims must fight against Jews and Christians who do not submit or pay a tax. Why would not terrorists be inspired by this command to fight and the ensuing violence?

(3) In this northward march, Muhammad is outlining policies that his armies of warriors must adopt and implement after he is gone (he dies in 632). From Quran 9:29, later conquering Muslims adopt this policy: People of the Book can fight and die or pay a 'protection' tax or convert. In fact, the Muslims are so successful militarily that they conquer Jerusalem in 638, dragging this policy behind them.

Contrasting Quran 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33 with Matthew 28:18—20:

We are now in a position to contrast Islam with another expansionist or missionary religion, Christianity. Jesus in the last verses of the Gospel of Matthew speaks what is known as the Great Commission, in which he commissions his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples. Evangelicals take these verses seriously.

28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'

This passage can be contrasted with Quran 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33 in three ways.

First, Jesus does not announce the superiority of his new religion as exalted over and above all other religions, even though he knows that the greater Mediterranean world is filled with various religions—Greek and Roman culture penetrated into Israel. It is true that he wants his message to go out into all the world, and in this, Christianity is in conflict with Islam. However, the tone and attitude in the Great Commission differs from Muhammad's tone and attitude in the three Quranic verses. No talk of winning or superiority or prevailing can be found in Matthew 28:18—20.

Second, the historical and literary contexts in Matthew differ from that of the Quranic passages. Jesus' commissioning takes place after his resurrection. In no way does warfare or conquest guide the Great Commission. Jesus never raised an army to conquer Jerusalem or anything else. He did not institute a policy that requires battle or 'protection' tax or conversion. And for the first three centuries his disciples followed this guidance (Constantine comes in the fourth century). Christianity spread only by peaceful proclamation. In contrast, Muhammad guides his followers in warfare and conquest, and they follow him faithfully in this, for centuries.

Third and finally, Jesus' commissioning contains the bare minimum of instructions. His missionaries are to preach, baptize, and make disciples so that new converts obey all that he commands. But what are the greatest commandments that take care of all the rest?

After Jesus makes his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:1—11) in order to die there, not to conquer it, the Pharisees and Sadducees, two major religious and political groups in first—century Israel, put him to the test (21:23—27). He is questioned about political and religious matters, and he answers them successfully (22:15—33). Then, one of them, an expert in the law, tests him further.

22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'

Thus, Jesus does not reinstitute a new sacred law—sharia—that forbids or allows this or that food or prayer method or forced fasts or animal sacrifice or pilgrimage to a city or shrine. Those two commandments summarize all of the Law and Prophets, and indeed are found in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5, and are repeated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:8—10. '. . . Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law' (v. 10).

Muhammad, on the other hand, in 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33, proclaims that he has received from on High 'true guidance' which is another way of saying the Quran, and it is filled with a new law of eating, forced praying, visiting shrines, forced alms and fasts, conquering, and so on. For example, as we have already seen in 9:29, Allah tells his prophet that he should fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day or in what has been forbidden, like eating pork, to cite one example. Also, Jews or Christians who refuse to acknowledge the religion of truth, Islam, should be battled and fought until they pay the 'protection' tax with willing submission (the word 'islam' means 'submission') and feel themselves utterly subdued (beyond submission), eventually having sharia imposed on them.

Christians, however, have been set free from onerous rules and regulations in their eternal trip to heaven, thanks to Christ's sacrifice on the cross. (Yes, he physically, actually and historically died on the cross.) Why, then, would Christians wish to submit—again, the key word in Islam—to a new law that Muhammad adapted from the Old Law, 600 hundred years after Christ lived and spoke those words of love and instituted a New Covenant of the Spirit? Christians are commanded to go out into the world and preach the love of God to all nations, not to fight and conquer unbelievers in all nations, imposing a sharia or new law on them.

We began this article with the very words of Osama bin Laden and Abu—Musab al—Zarqawi who represent many other lesser—known terrorists. However, we should not deceive ourselves that only terrorists believe their religion is superior and will prevail over all other religions. Non—violent fanatics have chimed in with shrill claims and predictions.

Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian novelist, poet and 'activist,' executed in 1966 for advocating the overthrow of the Egyptian government, claims that Islam now must be chosen over Christianity:

America and Russia are the same; they both base themselves on materialistic thinking. The real struggle is between Islam on the one hand and Russia and America on the other. Christianity is incapable of meeting the challenge. That is why Islam must be chosen now.

In other words, the US and Russia are sinking into materialism, and Islam, not Christianity, must fight the two countries because Christianity is too weak spiritually. Thus, the 'clash of civilizations,' though decried by Westernized Muslim moderates seeking to put the best face on Islam, is still a valid concept for more radical Muslims. Islam must dominate the world, even if by 'clashing.'

Next, a preacher at the Kaba Mosque in Medina, Sheikh Abd al—Aziz Qari, delivers a sermon predicting the annihilation of Christianity and Judaism, the religions of unbelief—or of not believing in Allah:

Two groups — the Jews and the Christians — are the main elements constituting the Camp of Kufr [unbelief] and will continue to be its two foundations until Allah allows their downfall and annihilation at the end of days...

Continuing his sermon, al—Aziz Qari repeats the hadith that says Jesus will return and break the cross:

When the Prophet Muhammad was sent out, the Camp of Kufr declared war on his message. At the center of this war were these groups, particularly the Jews. These two groups will continue to serve as the grindstones of the conflict and the war between belief and Kufr until eternity comes... The conflict will end when Jesus the son of Mary, peace be upon him, arrives to break the cross, and wipes it off the face of the earth, and kills the blind [false] Messiah, the leader of the Jews and the tyrant whom they await. Until that day, the conflict between us, the Muslims, and the Jews and Christians will continue, and it will ebb and flow, one day ours, another day theirs....

Contrary to the sheikh's revisionist assertion that the Camp of Kufr (disbelief = Jews and Christians) declared war on Islam, it is more accurate historically to say that when 'Muhammad was sent out' (by Allah) on his conquests in and around Medina and Mecca and even northward, he declared war on surrounding tribes of polytheists and all the way to the Byzantine Empire, which for the Prophet represented Christianity. Marching northward with armies (not a band of preachers only), Muhammad launched his own Crusades hundreds of years before Europeans launched theirs.

Further, al—Aziz Qari distorts Christian eschatology (study of the end times). Jesus will return, but in favor of the Muslims, arriving to symbolically break the cross, in order to show how wrong Christians are. As we noted earlier, though, Muhammad merely changes, without evidence, Christian teaching to suit his own religion. But it is the Christians who get to read the source documents—the New Testament—and interpret them; Muhammad did not know them, but picked up what little he knew from fragments of tales and apocrypha that circulated around the trade routes of Arabia. Therefore, later Muslims do not have carte blanche to distort Christian teaching, either.

Be that as it may, al—Aziz Qari says that Islam will dominate the world, if only when Jesus returns. Until then, conflict and war between the Camp of Belief (Islam) and the Camp of Unbelief (Christianity and Judaism) will never cease. Clearly, this sheikh's rant and distortions are inspired by early Islam.

Finally, in a sermon at the Old Mosque in al—Jumaa, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abd al—Majid ibn al—Aziz al—Deheishi predicts victory for Islam as surely as the sun rises:

He who doubts the victory of the [Islamic] religion is like he who despairs that the sun will not rise after darkness falls...

Taking his inspiration from early Islam, al—Aziz al—Deheishi cites as proof for his prediction a hadith that says the rocks and trees will cry out that there are Jews hiding behind them, and then will all the Jews be killed, and finally Islam will be victorious (in bold print, below):

For the contemptible Jews ... is foreseen an encounter with the nation of Muhammad, as it is said: 'The Day of Judgment will come, when the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them until the Jew hides behind the stone and the tree. The stone and the tree will say: O Muslim, O worshipper of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him' — except for the gharqad (thorny bush) tree, which is the tree of the Jews. These texts are certain proof of the victory of the religion of Islam.

From all of these quotations and from the commentary on the three Quranic verses, it is evident that terrorists, extremists and even moderates believe that Islam should be spreading not only in the Greater Middle East, but all over the world. This has been seen in the comment of moderate Yusuf Ali that the expansion of Islam amounts to God's endorsement (see 48:28, above), and in the claim of intellectual 'activist' Qutb that the world must abandon western Christianity (embodied in the US) and eastern Christianity (embodied in the Russia). Islam must tackle materialistic America and Russia because Christianity is too weak to do so.

Therefore, all these quotations and summaries of terrorists and non—violent fanatics and even some moderates can be boiled down to this logic, which has been explained in another analysis from another angle.

(1) If A, then B. If Islam is the superior religion (61:9, 48:28, 9:33), then it must prevail and triumph over all other religions.
(2) Not—B. But Islam is not prevailing or triumphing over all other religions.
(3) Therefore, not—A. Islam is not the superior religion.

This logic is the terrible grievance that chafes at the heart of terrorists and non—violent fanatics.

All cultures and societies have some religion—ranging from simple animism and ancestor veneration to Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism—but it is only Western civilization and Christianity, though not identical, that create the negation in premise (2), the not—B, with some negation from Hindus in northern India, bordering on Pakistan, and from animists and Christians in Africa, who are being attacked and killed. Also, early Islam speaks almost exclusively of Christianity as the major roadblock to world submission and domination, and it is this major religion that Muhammad confronts in his later unprovoked military campaigns.

Therefore, the West and Christianity, though not identical, must be brought down together, and earliest Islam inspires terrorists and extremists to absorb this idea of triumph over the 'Great Satan' and the 'Camp of Unbelievers' in their false religion, and to bring about the ultimate victory for Islam the true religion by a variety of means, including holy war in the example of their prophet.

Beyond the West, though, since all corners of the globe have some religion, Islam must now religiously dominate the world, which entails complete control over all aspects of society through sharia, with no distinction between mosque and state, between religion and civil liberties, and between imposing holiness from an antiquated and harsh law and choosing holiness from a relationship with a loving Father God.

Jim Arlandson (PhD) teaches introductory philosophy and world religions at a college in southern California. He has written a book Women, Class and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke—Acts (Hendrickson, 1997).

Islamic terrorism may eventually be defeated in its large manifestations, like the one we saw on 9/11, but built into earliest Islam is an ultimate goal of religious world domoination, whether carried out by violent or peaceful means, as seen in the Quran, the Hadith (the record of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad), and the sunna (the example or path of Muhammad).

Osama bin Laden and Abu—Musab al—Zarqawi, the Jordanian who beheads innocent workers in Iraq, are open about this goal, as we see in these fatwas, statements, and interviews before and after 9/11.

In Osama's August 1996 fatwa declaring war against the US, he claims that Islamic revival is occurring around world, and especially around the Muslim world:

Under the present circumstances [of Zionist—Crusader aggressions], and under the banner of the blessed awakening which is sweeping the world in general and the Islamic world in particular, I meet with you today.

In March 1997 Peter Arnett interviews Osama, who says the goal of jihad is to exalt God's word [the Quran] to the heights, in other words, until the message of his Holy Book goes around the world.

For [subordination to the Jews and occupation of Arabia] and other acts of aggression and injustice, we have declared jihad against the US, because in our religion it is our duty to make jihad so that God's word is the one exalted to the heights and so that we drive the Americans away from all Muslim countries.

His absurd goal of driving out Americans from all Islamic lands has been answered here.

In May 1998 Jonathan Miller, then a reporter with ABC News, now a consultant on terrorism for Los Angeles, interviews Osama, who believes that he is a servant of Allah and that his primary mission is to spread by fighting the religion of light.

I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion. ...

In November 2001, after 9/11, Osama allows an interview  with Hamid Mir, the editor of an Arabic—language journal. The terrorist pulls back a little from his wish to slaughter innocent people, though he has said in numerous other statements and interviews that he is justified in doing so. His mission is to spread the Quran:

Hamid Mir: Can it be said that you are against the American government, not the American people?

Osama: Yes! We are carrying on the mission of our Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The mission is to spread the word of God, not to indulge [in] massacring people.

In December 2001 Osama records a video in which he and a sheikh extol the 9/11 attacks. He states his goal clearly:

I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.

In that same video Osama reports that after the attacks many converted to Islam, and many others were at least curious about true Islam, in the sense of possibly converting to it.

Some of them said that in Holland, at one of the centers, the number of people who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations were more than the people who accepted Islam in the last eleven years. I heard someone on Islamic radio who owns a school in America say: 'We don't have time to keep up with the demands of those who are asking
about Islamic books to learn about Islam.' This event made people think (about true Islam) which benefited Islam greatly.

On September 11, 2004, the three—year anniversary of 9/11, al—Zarqawi assumes  that spreading Islam around the world is difficult, but that the holy warriors should not give up:

As for you, fighters who came from afar, by Allah, missions of da'wa [the propagation of Islam] have never been a road lined with roses and sweet basil; the price of da'wa missions is heavy, and the price of bringing principles to the land of reality is a lot of torn limbs and blood. The light of dawn shall not be lit in this darkness save by Jihad fighters and shahids.

Thus, in the words of these two visible terrorists—and even non—violent radicals and zealots agree, as we will see, below—the ultimate goal of Islam is to spread the message and ways of Allah around the world because Islam is the gift of God, the greatest seal and capstone of inferior Judaism and Christianity. How is this goal best manifested and carried out? In following the Quran and sharia (Islamic law), which expresses God's will and ways in a pristine form. Ultimately, violent and non—violent radicals want religious world domination.

Where do Osama and al—Zarqawi get this goal of spreading Islam around the world? Out of thin air? Why do not Evangelical Christians use violence and other extreme means to spread their message? After all, Christ said to go into all the world and preach the gospel. What is the difference between the two religions in their outlook and methods of promulgation?

As for Islam, the Quran states unequivocally the superiority and triumph of Islam over all religions in three different verses: 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33. We analyze these three verses methodically. First, it is better to use the translations of Muslim scholars, not those of Western scholars, in order to forestall the criticism of Western bias. Next, it is also crucial that we analyze the historical context and the literary context of each verse. The historical context reveals the occasion in which Muhammad received his revelations—traditionally thought to be transmitted to him from God through Gabriel. Sometimes this is difficult to discover, but not with these three verses, fortunately. The literary or textual context is important because other verses surrounding these three illuminate their meaning more clearly than the three verses standing in isolation. Then, we interpret the import of the verses, and finally we draw some inferences.

Quran 61:9 is analyzed first:

Maulana Muhammad Ali is an apologist (defender) for Islam, more than an objective scholar, and he translates as follows:

61:9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists are averse. (Maulana)

The following translation is approved and funded by the Saudi Royal family; the parenthetical explanations are original:

61:9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the MushrikŻn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad) hate (it). (Hilali and Khan)

The word 'religion' is really singular. And this translation by Majid Fakhry, emeritus (retired) professor at the American University in Lebanon, living now in the US, is approved by al—Azhar University, Egypt, the most prestigious university in the Islamic world, and catches the meaning of the singular:

61:9 It is He Who has sent His Messenger forth with the guidance and the religion of truth, to make it triumph over every religion, even though the idolaters may be averse. (Fakhry)

In many cases, it is a guessing game as to when in history a given sura (chapter) or a passage within a sura was received from Gabriel, but 61:9 was probably received one to three years after the Hijrah (Emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD).

The title of the sura is 'the Ranks,' which comes from 61:4:

61:4 Surely Allah loves those who fight in His ways in ranks, as if they were a solid wall. (Maulana)

The historical context of 61:9, then, is battle and warfare. The verse may refer to the Battle of Badr in 624 AD, in which the Muslims won a stunning victory over a much—larger Meccan army, or it may refer to the Battle of Uhud (625), in which the Muslims did not fare so well, but the loss did not hurt them substantially, for they carried on and grew in power. It is likely that 61:9 was received after the Battle of Badr, for the verse sounds a note of triumph, not defeat. Muhammad was flushed with victory, and in his exuberance he foresees Islam overtaking Christianity, the largest competitor religion in the Greater Middle East.

In fact, the verses just before 61:9—the literary context—show Jesus prophesying the coming of a certain Ahmad, who is Muhammad (v. 6). Disbelievers then accuse Muhammad of sorcery, impute falsehood to Allah, and try to extinguish Allah's Lights (vv. 7—8). Maulana Muhammad Ali in his commentary sees these enemies as either polytheists or Christians whose Trinitarianism is a version of polytheism. Thus, Muhammad the prophet is breaking free from the inferior religion, Christianity (as well as Judaism). And Jesus himself directly approves of Muhammad and the Quran as if to say that Muhammad supercedes him. However, Muhammad provides no evidence that Jesus says this; rather, Muhammad is just making it up, though claiming it comes down from Gabriel.

The two conservative scholars working in Arabia, Drs. Muhammad Taqi—ud—Din Al—Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, interpret 61:9 in a traditional way, citing Imam Bukhari (810—870 AD), a scholar who collected the sayings and deeds of Muhammad in the Hadith. His collection is considered completely reliable and comes second in sacredness behind the Quran. Hilali and Khan connect this hadith to 61:9:

Allah's Messenger said: 'By Him (Allah) in Whose Hand my soul is, surely the son of Mary [Isa (Jesus)] will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims), and will judge mankind justly by the Law of the Quran (as a just ruler) and will break the Cross and kill pigs and abolish the Jizyah [a tax] . . . .'

Thus, Muslims believe that Christ will return as a Muslim, break the cross in a symbolic display to show Christians how wrong they are, and kill pigs, which are unclean animals to Muslims, but which Christians may eat. Indeed, Muslims believe that Christ did not actually die on the cross, but another man took his place. The odd belief of the non—crucifixion has been refuted here.

Undeterred by the questionable, unresearched historicizing that denies the crucifixion, Hilali and Khan themselves offer this warning to Christians, based on Bukhari's hadith:

[I]t is a severe warning to the Christians who claim to be the followers of Isa (Jesus) and he will break the Cross and kill the pigs, and he will abolish the Jizya (tax); and all mankind will be required to embrace Islam with no alternative.

We can draw these inferences from the verse, its historical and literary contexts, and its interpretation: (1) The triumph of Islam in 61:9 comes in the context of warfare. Allah loves soldiers who win in ranks, and Islam will triumph over all religions, but especially over heretical Christianity. (2) Jesus himself prophesies and approves of Muhammad. The later Prophet supercedes Jesus of Nazareth, whom Muslims regard as merely a prophet. (3) Jesus is coming again, as Christians believe, but Jesus will be a leader of the Muslims and will break the cross, which is based on the false doctrine of the atoning work of Christ. (4) Terrorists use the idea of triumph over other religions for their own diabolical purposes. This is especially dangerous since this triumph is found in the context of warfare and violence, according to Muhammad's sunna or example in history.

The second passage is 48:28, and reads nearly identically to 61:9:

The two conservative scholars receiving Saudi support translate as follows:

48:28 He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior to all religions. And All—Sufficient is Allah as a Witness. (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

Majid Fakhry, instead of 'superior,' uses 'exalt it above':

48:28 It is He Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as Witness. (Fakhry)

Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a moderate scholar, has:

48:28 It is He Who has sent his Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over All Religion; and enough is God for a Witness. (Yusuf Ali)

The historical context of Sura 48 takes place during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah in 628. Muhammad had a dream, literally (see 48:27), to take a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the Meccans blocked his way. After a standoff, both sides agreed to a treaty by which Muhammad negotiated, among other terms, the right to a pilgrimage to Mecca a year later in 629, which took place. This truce won many new converts to Islam through peaceful means, not warfare, and 48:28 indicates that Muhammad was so confident, he predicted that his religion would spread out beyond Arabia and be exalted above other religions.

However, warfare is near at hand in Sura 48, as usual in Muhammad's career and in Quranic verses, and this may have contributed to his confidence. In 628, after the Treaty, Muhammad advanced northwards and attacked the city of Kaybar, where a rich tribe of Jews were settled. He was anxious to defeat them because they were inciting enemies against him. But the Jews were inciting enemies against him because he had exiled the Jewish tribe of an—Nadir in 625. This is one more piece of evidence demonstrating how the cycle of violence and revenge could go on and on in Arab culture; Muhammad the God—inspired prophet did not rise above this violent cycle, but skillfully used it to his advantage.

Be that as it may, Muhammad conquered the city and allowed the Jews to cultivate their land, but they had to turn over half the produce to the 1600 Muslims who fought and took part in the attempted pilgrimage in 628 that resulted in the Treaty. Indeed, the last line of 48:27 reads: 'and He also granted you a speedy triumph' (Haleem's translation), and scholars agree that this triumph or victory likely refers to Kaybar.

The literary context is revealing, as well. Allah promises Muhammad and his fledgling religion more victories in Sura 48. For example, verse 22 says that if anyone fights with Muhammad, the enemy will turn his back and run, finding no protector or helper. Most importantly verses 24—26 predict that the sacred Mosque (the Kabah shrine housing the sacred black stone in Mecca) has been granted to Muhammad even before he actually takes possession of it. Later, this will give Muhammad and his followers permission to claim ownership over Jerusalem before they take possession of it, which will generate many problems, even today.

The interpretation of 48:28 should be anchored in the key words 'superior,' 'above,' and 'over,' depending on the translation. Allah's true religion and his guidance (the Quran) will be exalted over all other religions, which echoes Osama's belief that he must fight until God's word is exalted to the heights (see his interview in March 1997, above).

Moreover, Yusuf Ali's translation says that Islam should spread through 'proclamation,' a word choice that does not appear in other translations. This is a peaceful (if inaccurate) rendering of the verse that Muslims should consider as they spread their religion around the world, by proclamation only. Yet, despite this soft translation, the historical context and the overriding content of 48:28 spark a note of triumph in the moderate scholar's commentary on the verse. Says Yusuf Ali:

The divine disposition of events in the coming of Islam and its promulgation by the holy Prophet are themselves evidence of the truth of Islam and its all—reaching character; for there is nothing that it has not influenced.

This reasonable scholar, then, believes that the spread of Islam proves its truth. Though this is a dubious inference, if a moderate holds to this, then so will the terrorists. When they see Islam in recession compared with the West and Christianity, they take action to stop the American 'Crusaders.' This belief drawn from early Islam has triggered the terrorist attacks for the last twenty years, culminating in 9/11.

These inferences can be drawn:

(1) 48:28 itself says that Islam would triumph over all other religions. Osama understands the import of this verse, and desperately wants this to occur, so he takes matters into his own hands and confronts the West, especially the US, which, in his mental world, is a new Crusader.

(2) Muhammad's religion grew through peaceful means, the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, but he could not leave well enough alone, and attacked a Jewish settlement in Kaybar.

(3) Therefore, warfare is close at hand in Muhammad's prediction that Islam would be exalted above and over all other religions. Facts like these inspire terrorists and radicals to ensure the spread of Islam by whatever means possible.

Quran 9:33 is the last verse:

Since this verse repeats the other two, we need use only one translation:

9:33 It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it superior over all religions, though the MushrikŻn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it). (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

The historical context of Sura 9 occurs late in Muhammad's career, and most scholars believe that this section where verse 33 is found reflects Muhammad's northward expansion without material and real provocation, as reputable scholars agree, so Islam was acting aggressively. Specifically, in October to December 630, after the conquest of Mecca in January 630, Muhammad launched a Crusade to Tabuk, a city some 350 miles north of Medina and 250 miles south of Jerusalem. 'Crusade' is the right word, for early Muslim sources say the army had 30,000 men and 10,000 horses, though modern estimates agree that the numbers are exaggerated. Still, whatever the specific number, the army was large.

On his way north, Muhammad extracted (or extorted, really) agreements—without provocation—from smaller Christian Arab tribes to pay the jizyah tax, instead of being attacked and killed. They also had the option to convert, but most did not and agreed, rather, to pay the tax (see Quran 9:29, below). Once the Muslims reached Tabuk, the results were indecisive. The Byzantine army failed to materialize, Muhammad and his large army returned to their homes after ten days.

The verses around 9:33—the literary context—reveal an absolutist outlook, which terrorists and non—violent extremists are quick to pick up on. Because of Muhammad's northward gaze, the polemics against Christianity becomes harsher, as seen here:

9:29 Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Hilali and Khan, parenthetical notes are theirs)

This verse, now famous or infamous, outlines four conditions for fighting, notably the fourth one. Muslims are commanded to fight against the Jews and Christians who do not acknowledge the religion of truth, Islam. The Christians and Jews must submit after battle or avoid battle by paying a special 'protection' tax for the privilege of living under Islam, which was moving northward without provocation. Incidentally, Muslim scholars, and some Western ones, assert that, technically, this policy does not force conversion. To a certain extent that is true, even though the technicality has been called into question here

Next, the following verse curses Christians who say the Messiah (no better than a prophet in Islam) is the Son of God:

9:30 . . . [A]nd the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. . . . Allah's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! (Hilali and Khan)

Moreover, verses 31—32 and 34 claim that Jews and Christians take false leaders to be their lords; that the Christians associate another god, Jesus, with Allah; and that Jews and Christians want to extinguish the light of Allah. Thus, Muhammad's tone and language against Christianity (and Judaism) become shrill.

The interpretation of 9:33 can be short, since it is nearly identical to 61:9 and 48:28. We need only add that Muhammad's vision for a triumphant Islam is repeated three times in the three verses, and his conquests in real life and his vision work hand in glove. As his confidence grows, so does his far—reaching vision of the superiority of his religion.

We can conclude from 9:33 and its historical and literary contexts, as follows:

(1) The largest, most powerful competitor religion was Christianity, and as Muhammad confronts it, his rhetoric against it heats up. Islam is superior to Christianity and will prevail over it. He is leading his Muslim soldiers northward to expand the reach of Islam. Plainly said, this is a Muslim Crusade long before the European Crusades.

(2) Warfare and violence form the context of 9:33, especially 9:29, which contains the word 'fight,' which is directed against those who do not believe in Allah, the End of Day, and Muhammad's declarations on clean and unclean things. But especially Muslims must fight against Jews and Christians who do not submit or pay a tax. Why would not terrorists be inspired by this command to fight and the ensuing violence?

(3) In this northward march, Muhammad is outlining policies that his armies of warriors must adopt and implement after he is gone (he dies in 632). From Quran 9:29, later conquering Muslims adopt this policy: People of the Book can fight and die or pay a 'protection' tax or convert. In fact, the Muslims are so successful militarily that they conquer Jerusalem in 638, dragging this policy behind them.

Contrasting Quran 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33 with Matthew 28:18—20:

We are now in a position to contrast Islam with another expansionist or missionary religion, Christianity. Jesus in the last verses of the Gospel of Matthew speaks what is known as the Great Commission, in which he commissions his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples. Evangelicals take these verses seriously.

28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'

This passage can be contrasted with Quran 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33 in three ways.

First, Jesus does not announce the superiority of his new religion as exalted over and above all other religions, even though he knows that the greater Mediterranean world is filled with various religions—Greek and Roman culture penetrated into Israel. It is true that he wants his message to go out into all the world, and in this, Christianity is in conflict with Islam. However, the tone and attitude in the Great Commission differs from Muhammad's tone and attitude in the three Quranic verses. No talk of winning or superiority or prevailing can be found in Matthew 28:18—20.

Second, the historical and literary contexts in Matthew differ from that of the Quranic passages. Jesus' commissioning takes place after his resurrection. In no way does warfare or conquest guide the Great Commission. Jesus never raised an army to conquer Jerusalem or anything else. He did not institute a policy that requires battle or 'protection' tax or conversion. And for the first three centuries his disciples followed this guidance (Constantine comes in the fourth century). Christianity spread only by peaceful proclamation. In contrast, Muhammad guides his followers in warfare and conquest, and they follow him faithfully in this, for centuries.

Third and finally, Jesus' commissioning contains the bare minimum of instructions. His missionaries are to preach, baptize, and make disciples so that new converts obey all that he commands. But what are the greatest commandments that take care of all the rest?

After Jesus makes his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:1—11) in order to die there, not to conquer it, the Pharisees and Sadducees, two major religious and political groups in first—century Israel, put him to the test (21:23—27). He is questioned about political and religious matters, and he answers them successfully (22:15—33). Then, one of them, an expert in the law, tests him further.

22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'

Thus, Jesus does not reinstitute a new sacred law—sharia—that forbids or allows this or that food or prayer method or forced fasts or animal sacrifice or pilgrimage to a city or shrine. Those two commandments summarize all of the Law and Prophets, and indeed are found in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5, and are repeated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:8—10. '. . . Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law' (v. 10).

Muhammad, on the other hand, in 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33, proclaims that he has received from on High 'true guidance' which is another way of saying the Quran, and it is filled with a new law of eating, forced praying, visiting shrines, forced alms and fasts, conquering, and so on. For example, as we have already seen in 9:29, Allah tells his prophet that he should fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day or in what has been forbidden, like eating pork, to cite one example. Also, Jews or Christians who refuse to acknowledge the religion of truth, Islam, should be battled and fought until they pay the 'protection' tax with willing submission (the word 'islam' means 'submission') and feel themselves utterly subdued (beyond submission), eventually having sharia imposed on them.

Christians, however, have been set free from onerous rules and regulations in their eternal trip to heaven, thanks to Christ's sacrifice on the cross. (Yes, he physically, actually and historically died on the cross.) Why, then, would Christians wish to submit—again, the key word in Islam—to a new law that Muhammad adapted from the Old Law, 600 hundred years after Christ lived and spoke those words of love and instituted a New Covenant of the Spirit? Christians are commanded to go out into the world and preach the love of God to all nations, not to fight and conquer unbelievers in all nations, imposing a sharia or new law on them.

We began this article with the very words of Osama bin Laden and Abu—Musab al—Zarqawi who represent many other lesser—known terrorists. However, we should not deceive ourselves that only terrorists believe their religion is superior and will prevail over all other religions. Non—violent fanatics have chimed in with shrill claims and predictions.

Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian novelist, poet and 'activist,' executed in 1966 for advocating the overthrow of the Egyptian government, claims that Islam now must be chosen over Christianity:

America and Russia are the same; they both base themselves on materialistic thinking. The real struggle is between Islam on the one hand and Russia and America on the other. Christianity is incapable of meeting the challenge. That is why Islam must be chosen now.

In other words, the US and Russia are sinking into materialism, and Islam, not Christianity, must fight the two countries because Christianity is too weak spiritually. Thus, the 'clash of civilizations,' though decried by Westernized Muslim moderates seeking to put the best face on Islam, is still a valid concept for more radical Muslims. Islam must dominate the world, even if by 'clashing.'

Next, a preacher at the Kaba Mosque in Medina, Sheikh Abd al—Aziz Qari, delivers a sermon predicting the annihilation of Christianity and Judaism, the religions of unbelief—or of not believing in Allah:

Two groups — the Jews and the Christians — are the main elements constituting the Camp of Kufr [unbelief] and will continue to be its two foundations until Allah allows their downfall and annihilation at the end of days...

Continuing his sermon, al—Aziz Qari repeats the hadith that says Jesus will return and break the cross:

When the Prophet Muhammad was sent out, the Camp of Kufr declared war on his message. At the center of this war were these groups, particularly the Jews. These two groups will continue to serve as the grindstones of the conflict and the war between belief and Kufr until eternity comes... The conflict will end when Jesus the son of Mary, peace be upon him, arrives to break the cross, and wipes it off the face of the earth, and kills the blind [false] Messiah, the leader of the Jews and the tyrant whom they await. Until that day, the conflict between us, the Muslims, and the Jews and Christians will continue, and it will ebb and flow, one day ours, another day theirs....

Contrary to the sheikh's revisionist assertion that the Camp of Kufr (disbelief = Jews and Christians) declared war on Islam, it is more accurate historically to say that when 'Muhammad was sent out' (by Allah) on his conquests in and around Medina and Mecca and even northward, he declared war on surrounding tribes of polytheists and all the way to the Byzantine Empire, which for the Prophet represented Christianity. Marching northward with armies (not a band of preachers only), Muhammad launched his own Crusades hundreds of years before Europeans launched theirs.

Further, al—Aziz Qari distorts Christian eschatology (study of the end times). Jesus will return, but in favor of the Muslims, arriving to symbolically break the cross, in order to show how wrong Christians are. As we noted earlier, though, Muhammad merely changes, without evidence, Christian teaching to suit his own religion. But it is the Christians who get to read the source documents—the New Testament—and interpret them; Muhammad did not know them, but picked up what little he knew from fragments of tales and apocrypha that circulated around the trade routes of Arabia. Therefore, later Muslims do not have carte blanche to distort Christian teaching, either.

Be that as it may, al—Aziz Qari says that Islam will dominate the world, if only when Jesus returns. Until then, conflict and war between the Camp of Belief (Islam) and the Camp of Unbelief (Christianity and Judaism) will never cease. Clearly, this sheikh's rant and distortions are inspired by early Islam.

Finally, in a sermon at the Old Mosque in al—Jumaa, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abd al—Majid ibn al—Aziz al—Deheishi predicts victory for Islam as surely as the sun rises:

He who doubts the victory of the [Islamic] religion is like he who despairs that the sun will not rise after darkness falls...

Taking his inspiration from early Islam, al—Aziz al—Deheishi cites as proof for his prediction a hadith that says the rocks and trees will cry out that there are Jews hiding behind them, and then will all the Jews be killed, and finally Islam will be victorious (in bold print, below):

For the contemptible Jews ... is foreseen an encounter with the nation of Muhammad, as it is said: 'The Day of Judgment will come, when the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them until the Jew hides behind the stone and the tree. The stone and the tree will say: O Muslim, O worshipper of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him' — except for the gharqad (thorny bush) tree, which is the tree of the Jews. These texts are certain proof of the victory of the religion of Islam.

From all of these quotations and from the commentary on the three Quranic verses, it is evident that terrorists, extremists and even moderates believe that Islam should be spreading not only in the Greater Middle East, but all over the world. This has been seen in the comment of moderate Yusuf Ali that the expansion of Islam amounts to God's endorsement (see 48:28, above), and in the claim of intellectual 'activist' Qutb that the world must abandon western Christianity (embodied in the US) and eastern Christianity (embodied in the Russia). Islam must tackle materialistic America and Russia because Christianity is too weak to do so.

Therefore, all these quotations and summaries of terrorists and non—violent fanatics and even some moderates can be boiled down to this logic, which has been explained in another analysis from another angle.

(1) If A, then B. If Islam is the superior religion (61:9, 48:28, 9:33), then it must prevail and triumph over all other religions.
(2) Not—B. But Islam is not prevailing or triumphing over all other religions.
(3) Therefore, not—A. Islam is not the superior religion.

This logic is the terrible grievance that chafes at the heart of terrorists and non—violent fanatics.

All cultures and societies have some religion—ranging from simple animism and ancestor veneration to Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism—but it is only Western civilization and Christianity, though not identical, that create the negation in premise (2), the not—B, with some negation from Hindus in northern India, bordering on Pakistan, and from animists and Christians in Africa, who are being attacked and killed. Also, early Islam speaks almost exclusively of Christianity as the major roadblock to world submission and domination, and it is this major religion that Muhammad confronts in his later unprovoked military campaigns.

Therefore, the West and Christianity, though not identical, must be brought down together, and earliest Islam inspires terrorists and extremists to absorb this idea of triumph over the 'Great Satan' and the 'Camp of Unbelievers' in their false religion, and to bring about the ultimate victory for Islam the true religion by a variety of means, including holy war in the example of their prophet.

Beyond the West, though, since all corners of the globe have some religion, Islam must now religiously dominate the world, which entails complete control over all aspects of society through sharia, with no distinction between mosque and state, between religion and civil liberties, and between imposing holiness from an antiquated and harsh law and choosing holiness from a relationship with a loving Father God.

Jim Arlandson (PhD) teaches introductory philosophy and world religions at a college in southern California. He has written a book Women, Class and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke—Acts (Hendrickson, 1997).