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Friday, January 3, 2014

A mini 5 + 1 question quiz for Secretary Kerry


US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Israel for the 10th  time. I often wonder how much he understands  what is transpiring in the Middle East. So I came up (on the fly) with this mini quiz consisting of five questions which are quite essential to the understanding of the motivating force in the region.  How many answers would he know? How many would you?

Question 1

Article 7 of the Hamas Charter reads: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.

Where is the quote in Article 7 of the Hamas Charter taken from?

Question 2

Koranic verse 9:5, the verse of the sword, reads: “Pickthall - Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

How many other verses does verse 9:5 abrogate? 

Question 3

What is the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah?

Question 4

How does a hudna differ from a tahdiah?

Question 5

What do Twelver Shi’a belonging to the Hujetieh group believe in?

Bonus Question


These two flags below belong to which countries?









Answers:

Answer to question 1

Article 7 of the Hamas Charter is taken from Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177 and quotes the Prophet Muhammad:
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

Answer to question 2

Verse 9:5 abrogates 124 other verses

The Qur'an is unique among sacred scriptures in accepting a doctrine of abrogation in which later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements.[9] Four verses in the Qu'ran acknowledge or justify abrogation:
  • When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?[10]
  • When we replace a message with another, and God knows best what he reveals, they say: You have made it up. Yet, most of them do not know.[11]
  • God abrogates or confirms whatsoever he will, for he has with him the Book of the Books.[12]
  • If we pleased, we could take away what we have revealed to you. Then you will not find anyone to plead for it with us.[13]
Rather than explain away inconsistencies in passages regulating the Muslim community, many jurists acknowledge the differences but accept that latter verses trump earlier verses.[14] Most scholars divide the Qur'an into verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca when his community of followers was weak and more inclined to compromise, and those revealed in Medina, where Muhammad's strength grew.

Classical scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur'an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation would be "deficient."[15] Those who do not accept abrogation fall outside the mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself. The Ahmadiyah sect, for example, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation because it undercuts the notion that the Qur'an is free from errors.[16] Many Muslims consider Ahmadis, who also see their founder as a prophet, to be apostates.

 This "verse of the sword" abrogated, canceled, and replaced 124 verses that called for tolerance, compassion, and peace.[58]

Answer to question 3

Although it is doubtful that any of Kerry's advisers is even remotely familiar with this key episode in the accounts about Muhammad and the early Muslims, the Center for Security Policy explained the story in its 2010 book, "Shariah: The Threat to America." The context is about situations in which Muslim forces might lawfully enter into a treaty or truce with the enemy. With troubling ramifications for current day negotiations, those situations demonstrate the centrality and importance of deceit in any agreement between Muslims and infidels. As it is recounted, in the year 628 CE, Muhammad (whose forces already controlled Medina) agreed to a 10-year truce with the pagan Quraysh tribe of Mecca, primarily because he realized that his forces were not strong enough to take the city at the time. Islamic doctrine in fact forbids Muslims from entering into a jihad or battle without the reasonable certainty of being able to prevail. In such cases, as with Muhammad, Muslims are permitted to enter into a temporary ceasefire or hudna, with the proviso that no such truce may exceed 10 years (because that's the length of the agreement Muhammad signed). And so, Muhammad agreed to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. But just two years later, in 630 CE, now with some 10,000 fighters under his command, Muhammad broke the treaty and marched into Mecca.  

Answer to question 4

A hudna cannot last more than 10 years, tahdiah usually lasts up to one year.

Since a peace plan is out of the question, Hamas resorts instead to the Hudaybiyya precedent set by the Prophet himself, when, constrained by his weakness at the gates of Mecca, Muhammad consented to a 10-year hudna. Unlike Western ceasefires, which hinge on consent from both parties, hudna is unilateral and the party implementing it can reverse it anytime they like.

Yet an open-ended hudna might, Allah forbid, imply a recognition of Israel, as indeed may have been the case during the 19 years of truce/cease fire in 1948-67. To combat this, our creative terrorists then  introduced the term of tahdiah which doesn’t assume any permanence and usually lasts up to one year. Only if Israel withdraws from all of Palestine and agrees to the full right of return, would Hamas consider instituting a longer hudna (which Islamic Sharia still limits to ten years at most).

Answer to question 5

The egomaniac President Ahmadinejad is a member of Hujjatiyyah. He sees himself as the personal vassal of the Mahdi-Messiah or Hidden Imam, with whom he has fantasized tête-à-têtes frequently.
·         He literally believes in the imminent emergence of the Mahdi - the Shiites' promised one who is expected to appear to set aright a decadent and wretched world. 
·         He views himself as the vassal of Mahdi, working for him and being accountable to him.
·         His main task is to prepare the world so to hasten the Mahdi's coming. If this preparation requires much destruction and bloodshed, so be it. 
·         As a former mayor of Tehran, he developed elaborate detailed plans preparing the city for the arrival of the Mahdi. 
·         He allocated generous sums for extensive road improvement to a mosque at Jamkaaraan near the city of Qum where it is believed the promised Mahdi is hiding in a well since the age of nine, over 1100 years ago. 
·         He reportedly visits the well frequently and drops his written supplications into the well for the hidden Mahdi to act upon them. 
·         He has said in private that it was he who asked the Mahdi to inflict the massive stroke on Ariel Sharon. 
·         He sees the Jews as the sworn enemies of Islam. The hostility dates back to the time of Muhammad's own treatment of the Jews in Medina. At first, expediently, Muhammad called the Jews "people of the book," and accorded them a measure of tolerance until he gained enough power to unleash his devastating wrath on them. 
·         He says that the Holocaust is a myth. He is, in this respect, in good company with a number of other revisionist fanatics. 
·         He wants Israel to be wiped out of the map or transferred to Europe. 
·         In his speech at the UN general assembly, he implored the Mahdi to come and save the world. He claimed that during his speech of some twenty odd minutes, a powerful light enveloped him and all participants were held transfixed, unable to move their eyes. 
·         He believes that the earth is Allah's and all people must either become believers of his brand of Islam or must perish as infidels najis (unclean) who by their very presence defile Allah's earth. 
·         He believes that this earthly life is passing and worthless in comparison to the afterlife awaiting a devoted and faithful believer. Hence, he holds to the old belief that if a faithful kills an infidel, he goes to Allah's paradise; and, if the faithful gets killed in the process of serving the faith, again he goes to Allah's paradise. Hence, it is a win-win proposition for the faithful.

Bernard Lewis makes a similar point about Hujetieh in the video here.

There is one other point, which I think I will mention if you would allow me, and that is what I would call the apocalyptic aspect.  In Islam, as in Judaism ,  as in Christianity, there is a scenario for the End of Time. When the final battle takes place between the forces of good and the forces of evil, of which for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike means between us and them, the us being differently defined and them being more or less the same. In the Muslim view, no, let me correct that, in the view of a certain section within the Iranian leadership, it is not by any means unanimous, that time is NOW. For a group called the Hujtieh whose main leader is Ahmadinejad, the apocalyptic time has come. The Mahdi, the Muslim Messiah is already here. The final battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil has already begun. 

That is extremely important for another, not immediately related reason. That is the question of Iran’s nuclear weapon. The Soviet Union had nuclear weapons right through the Cold War, but neither side used them because both sides were aware that if either one did  the other would do the same and this would lead to mutual destruction - MAD as it was known at the time. Mutual assured destruction was the main deterrent preventing the use of nuclear weapons by the Soviets For most of the Iranian leadership MAD would work as a deterrent, but for Ahmadinejad and his group with their apocalyptic mindset mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it's an inducement and they believe that the End of Time has come, the final battles are already beginning  and the sooner the better, so that the good can  go and enjoy the delights of paradise and the divine brothel in the sky and the wicked, that means all of us here, will go to eternal damnation.

Answer to the Bonus question


Well, John Kerry should be familiar with these two countries. After all, they served as the basis for the new country he invented -- Kyrzakhstan

John Kerry invents country of Kyrzakhstan


Kazakhstan










  Kyrgyzstan