Islam and Jihad/Program 1

By: Dr. Emir Caner; ©2009
In this session, we will learn how jihad is understood in Islam and its implications for our lives and Muslims with whom we desire to share our faith.



Announcer: Today on the John Ankerberg show, Muhammad taught it, and the Muslim Caliphs practiced it for a thousand years. Now in our day Today Osama bin Laden the leader of al Qaeda, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the President of Iran, Hasan Nas­rallah the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Ismail Haniyah, the leader of Hamas in Gaza are all calling for jihad against the United States. What is Jihad? Where did it begin? Does Islam still teach it today? Why will Islam never accept Jesus’ teaching to love your enemy?

Caner: Muhammad was the perfect example. He went on raids, three that he led himself, military expeditions by the dozens, the killing of Jews, beheading 800 Jews at once in one time at the Battle of the Trench. Muhammad was the personification, the embodiment of jihad.

Announcer: Islam is the world’s second largest religion with 1.5 billion adherents. Nearly 7 million Muslims live in North America. And every single day, 64,000 more people become Muslims worldwide. And people around the world are asking do increasing Islamic terrorist acts represent Islamic extremism or a return to Islamic roots?

Ankerberg: Would you say that Islam is reverting back to a purist view of what Muhammad taught? They’re going back to his time?

Caner: That’s exactly right. When you hear mass media speak of extreme Islam, this isn’t extreme Islam. The Wahhabis are not extreme Muslims just because they said other Muslims should die. That’s happened throughout history. That’s not extreme. They are purists. They want to revert back to the seventh century.

Announcer: Many politicians and television commentators have expressed different opinions about Islam and Jihad. But today you will learn what Islam’s most authoritative sources, the Qur’an and Hadith, teach about this subject?

Caner: Jihad defined sometimes as an internal struggle, sometimes for the betterment of the community; but it’s also defined as a, a military conflict, in both chapter 8 and chapter 9 of the Qur’an.

Announcer: My guest today is former Sunni Muslim Dr. Emir Caner, who turned away from Islam and placed his faith in Jesus Christ. When he told his devout Muslim father he had become a Christian, his father disowned him. He went on to receive his PhD in history at the University of Texas at Arlington and today he is the president of the Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. He is a best-selling author of 20 books including Islam and Jihad and has appeared on ABC, NBC, and CNN as one of the foremost experts in the world on Islam and Christianity. Join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.

John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Boy, we’ve got an exciting one for you today. We’re going to be talking about The Truth about Islam and Jihad. This is a program, folks, that we’re doing now because we may not have a chance to do it again in the future. You’ve seen things happening in Europe, you’ve seen Europe and Spain and Germany, and you’ve seen Italy, you’ve seen places in Indonesia where now you cannot talk about Islam freely on the airwaves. And here in our own country the tide is turning. Right now we have the chance to do this; this is against the law to do this in Canada and Australia, so that right now this topic is very important.
And I think the way I want to get Americans into this that are listening, besides those of you that are overseas, is that those of you who are Americans, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, our folks, Americans, asked the question, why in the world are these people dedicating themselves to killing us? What did we do? What is their problem? And then the question came up, why are they quoting the Qur’an? And then that raised the question of what is the relationship of these people to Muham­mad and the Qur’an? Are these guys radicals? Are these folks the exception to the rule? Or what part did they play in terms of Islam? And then finally, who speaks for Islam today, and who’s going to speak for Islam in the future? Well, my guest is eminently qualified to talk about this. He’s Dr. Emir Caner, and as you’ve heard, he was a former Muslim who grew up in Turkey, moved to the United States. He was a Sunni Muslim. Eighty percent of the world’s population that are Muslims are Sunni Muslims. And his father built mosques. Along the way he decided to leave Islam and put his faith in Jesus Christ and became a Christian. His father, his family, dis­owned him. He went on to get his Ph.D. and has written many books. I believe that Emir and his brother Ergun, they are the evangelical scholars, these are the authority in the world today in terms of this topic of Islam. They’ve got this Qur’an and the Hadith absolutely memorized backwards and forwards as you will hear in a moment.
But we want to talk about the basics here. And first of all we want them to know, Emir, that you and I, we are not giving our thoughts. What today we are going to be doing is we are going to be giving the quotes from the authoritative sources of standard Islam across the world, which are the Qur’an and the Hadith. And I’m glad that you are here, and you’ve got your Qur’an right there with you. And let’s talk about what is the Quran, why is it the authority today, what is the Hadith, and why is that authoritative for fifty Muslim nations across the world and the 1.5 billion Muslims that are in Islam?
Emir Caner: Well, the Qur’an, of course, came to be because Muhammad at the age of forty said he received revelations from Allah, went home, told his wife Khadijah, who confirmed those sayings to be true. And so he believed he received the dictated words of Allah passed down then orally to him and now written down. The Qur’an is 114 suras, chapters, we would say perhaps better way, little books. It is incorruptible, chapter 15 and verse 9 of the Qur’an says, and that it is the preserved words of Allah, chapter 85 says. So it is the absolute guide to life for the Muslim. There’s nothing more important than the words of Allah himself. The Hadith are the words of Muhammad or the sayings of Muhammad, the stories collected by scholars centuries after his death. They are authenticated and considered constitutional. It is the jurisprudence of Islam. Whenever you have a civil or criminal matter in an Islamic republic it is final­ized by the sayings of the Hadith and how they are determined and interpreted by jurists today.
Ankerberg: What would be the consequences if any of the 1.5 billion Muslims went against the Qur’an or the Hadith?
Caner: Well, one of the consequences of course is the ultimate consequence. We begin in our book on Islam and Jihad of talking about the consequence of a young lady from Saudi Arabia who becomes a Christian, and her brother serves in the Education Ministry of Saudi Arabia, for the Virtue and Vice Commission is what he serves upon. And because she places her faith in Jesus Christ she is killed by her very own brother, which comes straight way from the Hadith where it says if a Muslim changes his Islamic religion kill him: volume 9 and number 57.
Ankerberg: Is that still in effect today?
Caner: It is. And, of course, she paid the ultimate price just a few months ago. Most Americans would see that is uncommon or at least unknown to them, but sadly across the world it’s commonplace. Many times on Friday while the Muslims go to the Jumu’ah prayers, the Friday prayers, they also will kill the infidels, the kafir who have reverted or converted to another faith outside of Islam, regardless of what that is.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s give a standard definition of what is jihad. We just know it as holy war, give us a little more information.
Caner: Mass media, jihad is holy war and Mujahedeen are holy warriors. But jihad has a greater jihad and a lesser jihad accord­ing to the Qur’an. The greater jihad is the internal exertions; it is your way to be praiseworthy to Allah; it is even battling for the rights of the community as a whole. The lesser jihad, not lesser, as you’ll see later on in the Hadith because it means less, but in title lesser jihad is the fighting that is prescribed to Muslims according to chapter 2 and verse 216 of the Qur’an, is also as important and its promises one of the greatest deeds that you can perform in Islam.
Ankerberg: Okay, let’s ask the question, what is the relation­ship of jihad to the Qur’an? What does the Qur’an explicitly say about jihad? Let’s take that first.
Caner: Well, when you when you compile all the sayings, you get I think a clear picture most will understand. The first verse in the Qur’an that sanctions holy war is chapter 22 and verse 39. And from there it says they go to war because they have been wronged. Now, that’s not a defensive struggle, it’s a religious one. Chapter 9 and verse 5 says “slay the enemies wherever you find them.” And you’ll see what it means to be wronged in an entire chapter, chapter nine, because the enemy is defined in verse 5 as the idolaters and in verse 29 as those who do not believe in Allah or the last day.
Ankerberg: So it’s not a political thing, this is a religious thing.
Caner: This is not to fight for one’s defense or to fight for peace. In Islam, for example, according to Bernard Lewis the greatest scholar in the West of Islam, there are two houses defined in chapter 9, the House of Islam and then the House of War, the Dar al-Islam and the Dar al-Harb. And in there you have to fight. Islam is an expansive religion, it is the first imperialism of the Middle Ages in that part of the world. Islam is defined that you will go and fight until the religion becomes Allah’s, verse 33 of that same chapter says. It’s a community effort, chapter 9 and verse 122 says. And if you do not fight and it’s prescribed for you and you are able-bodied, then you are subordinate, you are considered less than those who go to war, according to chapter 4 and verse 95 of the Qur’an.
Ankerberg: The Qur’an has a lot to say about the infidels, and this can be internal and it can be external. Let’s take both of them. What is an infidel?
Caner: Well, the Qur’an defines that you can go to fight against typical people that we would consider rebels, and you’ll see that in history, or bandits, those who tried to confuse or dis-unify the community. But the other two are the infidels and the apostates, inner and outer idolaters. The apostate, the kafir, is defined as one who was a Muslim and now has converted to another faith; that is, he has is gone from truth as defined and he has gone to a falsehood. And it’ll never be accepted of Allah that that would happen, chapter 3 and verse 85. To that person is prescribed the penalty, the punishment of death, and death by stoning according to the Hadith in Volume 8, 814. For those who go against the religion of Islam, the outer, whether that is a former Muslim or just simply those who fight, you have four ways of execution of that person, according to chapter 5 and verse 33 of the Qur’an. That person could be executed, that is beheaded, as we saw Muhammad do in the Hadith; he can be crucified; but then there are the lesser punishment of, for example, exile, or if there’s a lesser crime, cutting off a hand from one side and a foot on the other side of the person’s body.
Ankerberg: Okay, and we have then, with the Qur’an we have the life of Muhammad itself. He is the “excellent example”; he’s the one that Muslims are to follow. So we’re going to have to talk about how he lived and how he carried out what he thought, okay, in terms of jihad. And then this is kind of codi­fied in the Hadith. And this spells it out. And there’s a specific chapter in the Hadith that we want to look at that is all about jihad; and this is authoritative for Muslims across the world. We’re going to take a break and when we come back we’re going to go into that. You won’t want to miss it. Stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright we are talking about The Truth about Islam and Jihad. Dr. Caner and I have written this book together, we have documented what we’re saying. There’s much more than what we are putting into the program, and it’s all documented. I believe that Emir and his brother Ergun are the authorities in the world on Islam. And these are Christian scholars as well. They’ve written over a two million word commentary on the Qur’an verse by verse from an evangelical perspective that’s going to be coming out in the future. They’ve written a number of books. And, Emir, when we talk about what is the place of jihad in Islam, we’re going back to the sources. We’ve talked about now the Qur’an, and you cannot, if you’re a Muslim, you cannot change or alter the Qur’an. These are the actual words of Allah. But then you come to the words of Muhammad that are in the Hadith, and again, why is the Hadith so authoritative for Muslims across the world?
Caner: Well, the Hadith puts in practice what are the principles of Islam. And so when a religion is not accepted of you killing is the prescribed result of it. Same thing with jihad: when jihad is prescribed in chapters 8 and 9 of the Qur’an, the practice is put in place within the Hadith.
Ankerberg: One of the Hadiths was written by Bukhari, and why is he so important?
Caner: Bukhari in the ninth century compiled a final authority, the Hadith. He is the most respected. He traveled about authen­ticating Muhammad’s sayings passed down from generation to generation. And to this day it is the one most respected compilation, nine volumes of Muhammad’s sayings.
Ankerberg: And he, in volume 4, how many volumes in his Hadith?
Caner: Nine.
Ankerberg: Nine volumes. Huge thing. And in volume 4 he’s got a whole chapter, chapter 52, where he actually outlines, he gives you the rules for jihad that are supposed to be followed by all Muslims. And this is authoritative for all Muslims across the world. Let’s go into what are the rules for the road if you’re going to do jihad.
Caner: The mindset, it really gives you a spectacular display of how jihad is to be carried out. It begins in Volume 4 with number 41 that says it is one of the best deeds that you can perform. The only ones higher than that mention in that verse were prayers and honoring your parents. It then says in verse 42 it is obligatory to all of those who are physically able and for all males; whereas women, in number 43 are not obligated, although it is optional to get. The promise of war in number 46 is that you’ll go to heaven. The promise carried forth in number 50 is that it is better than anything this world has to offer. And number 74, that you are to emulate Muhammad’s examples in the respect. Number 177 says you are to fight other religions; and in particular the Jewish religion is pointed out there. When all is said and done, when this spectacular display is culminated and finished and victory is Allah’s, then number 317 of volume 4 says you are to worship Allah. And in the same way when Muhammad finished up the execution of an infidel, he sat down to eat and they discussed the religious matters of the day.
Ankerberg: Alright, why is jihad, in Bukhari’s Hadith why is it called the greatest of all deeds, and why is it obligatory for all Muslims?
Caner: Muslims don’t have simply a religious place where they carry out their life. It is a political stay. It is everything in life. Islam is this cradle to the grave religion that carries forth. And nothing is more important in the community, the Ummah. And of the Ummah nothing is more important than expanding its community. And so the person that is closest to Islam where Islam has just conquered or the country that is there is the closest to being taken over. We are seeing this right now in Africa, where the majority splits, where there are even amount of Christians in and Muslims, for example, places like the Sudan or Chad or Nigeria, that’s where the Dar al-Islam is attempting to be expanded, the House of Islam and where the House of War is. And it’s so important that, because Islam wants, at least from its inception in its source, world domination.
Ankerberg: Alright, you said that Islam is a religion that takes you from the cradle to the grave. Explain that more, because that went by the folks too quickly. When you’re talking about the cradle to the grave, you’re talking about everything that the person does. We’re not just talking about going to church on Sunday or going to the mosque on Friday, we’re talking about what that person does when they eat, when they drink, the foods that they eat, the person they marry, how they get married, how that relationship works, when they marry, how they can divorce, how you can go to war. I mean you’re talking about everything. And you were a Muslim and you followed all of those rules, what was it like?
Caner: Well, that’s why Islam is the most works-based religion in the world. It argues that you have to have faith in order to get to Paradise, but that must be embedded within your works. And so it is a works-based religion that begins with the creed that is whispered into your ear when you are birthed, the ad­han, the call to prayer – and the creed is “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” You have to pray five times daily, you have to fast one month out the year, you have to tithe two and a half percent of your income, you have to, if you are fiscally able, to go to Mecca and perform the hajj, the pilgrimage, that is there. And that’s just the beginning. That’s just what’s known to part of the West. What you said is true: there is halal food, allowed food; there is haram food, forbidden food; there are those you can marry, for the male only those who are monotheists; for the female, only Muslims; there is the dress you can wear in modesty; there is the lowering of the gaze for the woman. Every single aspect of your life, every step you take, is absolutely meticulously placed within the Hadith and the Qur’an.
Ankerberg: And why would anybody do that?
Caner: I really think that Islam, being the most works-based religion, it’s the most natural religion. People want to believe they can earn their way to heaven. And no other faith has given such a strict, tight structure to give you a false hope that you can attain heaven. Even though Muhammad himself was not sure of his eternal destiny, according to Bukhari’s Hadith in volume 5, number 266. Muhammad himself said, “What Allah will do with me I do not know.” In Islamic theology the more you are confident of your salvation, of your guidance to paradise, the less likely you are to get there.
Ankerberg: What part does fear and doubt play in this?
Caner: An incredible play. Fear in jihad; the warning is in chap­ter 9 and verse 81 that people say we may not want to have the “heat of war,” and Allah responds, there is a worse heat than that. That is also placed upon someone’s eternal destiny where if you have this fastened around your neck, chapter 17 and verse 13, that you carry the weight and the struggles of this life and hopefully Allah wants to have you, chapter 14, verse 4. But there is a fatalistic aspect that Allah is the cause of both good and evil, the cause of heaven and hell, and wherever you go is based on his sovereign arbitrary will.
Ankerberg: You also had the scales. What are the scales in Islam?
Caner: The scales are defined in chapter 23 verses 101 and fol­lowing. You hope you will one day stand before Allah, and that you have the good and the bad, and the good will outweigh the bad, and the bad will be lighter than the good. And you will look to Allah and Allah will be pleased with you and wish to have you and allow you to enter a world that is everything this world is not.
Ankerberg: But there’s two sides of that. The fact is, if a guy’s 55 years of age and has lived a corrupt life all the way up to that spot, and he’s basing it on works, he’s got a bad start coming in.
Caner: Well, yes. Two things: one, there is no such thing as a deathbed conversion according to chapter 4 of the Qur’an; and the aspect really is that most Muslims cannot attain heaven by their own system of thought. Consider for the fact that you’re required to go to the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Every year three million Muslims make their way to Mecca. Yet you have 1.5 billion Muslims on this earth. If you recognize that each of those three million never repeat the pilgrimage, which is a falsity, but we’ll give that generosity, and you recognize that most Muslims live, say an average of seventy years, which is far more generous than most places around the world, at best 210 million of 1.5 billion Muslims can adhere to the system of thought that is Islam. Even in their own theology they have very little, if any, hope of heaven.
Ankerberg: Okay. We’ve got to hit this question before in this program. We’re running out of time, we’re just getting started on this topic, but the question becomes, in the Qur’an itself you’ve got at the front Muhammad, when he didn’t have a lot of power, when he was trying to consolidate power, when he was actually in the minority, okay, he had some verses in the Qur’an there were very conciliatory to the Jews and the Chris­tians and other people. That changed. Even Princeton scholar Lewis says that it changed. How did it change?
Caner: Well, obviously, when he was a minority and when he was beginning he wanted to woo the Jew. He believed that he was the final prophet, chapter 33 and verse 40, the Seal of the Prophets, the one prophesied by Jesus, chapter 61 and verse 6 says. So trying to woo the Jews at the beginning, he realized that wasn’t going to happen of either the Jews or Christians. As a minority he had no political power. But after the hijira, after he took over in Medina and consolidated his power within one city, and then in 630, two years before his death, took over Mecca, he finally became the ruler of the Arabian Peninsula. And that is when he deemed all polytheists to be worst of all crea­tures, chapter 98 and verse 6. That is when he said in chapter 5 verse 51, “Do not take Jews or Christians as your friends or protector. You’ll become like them.” That’s when Islam took up the mantle of a political power and oppressed and suppressed any of those who would get in its way.
Ankerberg: My question then is, which verses are authorita­tive today?
Caner: Well, though some Islamic scholars would deny that there is any abrogation, you either have to assume that the Qur’an is inconsistent, or that – and this is what traditional Muslims believe, and Muhammad said in the Hadith – Allah helped him revise the Qur’an annually. And doing that, you can look at verses and say, that was then and this is now. And as Is­lam grew and developed there was a progressive revelation that then ended with Islamic domination of the Arabian Peninsula, that one day will end with Islamic domination of the world.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re just getting started. Next we’re going to talk more about the truth about Islam and Jihad. We’re going to talk about did the Muhammad target Jews in jihad? How did he carry this out during his lifetime? How did Muhammad’s early successors understand jihad? How did the Caliphates, when they conquered, what was their philosophy? Where they get it from? And how did Muhammad and his successors, how did they talk about Christians? And what’s this Pact of Umar, the caliphate Umar, that was enforced on Christians and if this were to happen again today would be enforced on Christians today? We talk all about those things next week, you won’t want to miss it. Join us then.

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