I rarely hear anything about "abrogation in Islam", except when it's brought up by Mr. Sawma, and I must say that he presents an excellent argument in this article, as to why Islam appears to exhibit a bipolar disorder in terms of being violent or non-violent by design. He claims that Muslim scholars try to avoid the subject purposely, so I'd like someone else, who is also well versed in "abrogation in Islam", to read his article and share their views on the topic. And please explain it in plain terms so that everyone who is interested can understand it and talk about it as much as possible to help clear the air and avoid future misunderstandings and violent outbursts. Thanks in advance.
The acts of pre-meditated massacres committed by Muslim extremists against Christians in the Muslim world, has become a phenomenon that needs to be addressed by the United Nations and the Arab League as well as the United States, Europe, and other nations.
We have seen the massacre of Christian worshippers by Muslim extremists in late October of 2010 in the church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. In the New Year, the world witnessed another massacre against Christians in the Church of the Saints in Alexandria, Egypt, committed by Muslim extremists.
In March 2010, Muslim men from the Fulani tribe in Nigeria, armed with swords and machetes, arrived at the Christian villages in the early hours of the morning killing several hundred of Christians.
There are 35-40 million Christians living in countries whose majority are Muslims. Some 15 million live in Indonesia; 12 million live in Egypt; 3 million in Pakistan; less than one million in Iraq and 2 percent in Jerusalem. In Turkey, the Christian population numbers around 1% of the total population of 75 million. In Syria, Christians count for less than 10 percent of the population. In Lebanon the number went down from about 55 percent 75 years ago to under 30 percent today. At present rate in the Middle East, the Christians will, in a decade, have been substantially reduced to the point that they will loose their cultural vitality and political significance. The exodus is a result of the unprecedented persecution of Christians by Muslim extremists as we have seen in the last few months.
Islamic Invasion of the Middle East in the 7th Century
On the eve of Islamic invasion of the Middle East in the seventh century, more than 95 percent of the population, not including Persia, was Christians. The rest were Jews, pagans and others. Back then, the Muslim attitude toward the People of the Book, as Christians and Jews are called in the Quran, does not entail any obligation on the part of the Muslims either to convert or to exterminate them.
Following the death of the Prophet of Islam in 632, the second successor, Calipha ‘Umar, had a covenant with the Christian majority of the Middle East; it is known as the Covenant of ‘Umar. The Covenant was in the form of a letter presented by the Christian community; it reads the following: “When you (i.e. ‘Umar) came to us, we asked you for safety for our lives, our families, our property, and the people of our religion on the conditions: to pay tribute out of hand and be humiliated; not to hinder any Muslim from stopping in our churches by night or day, to entertain him there three days and give him food there and open to him their doors; to beat the ‘naqus’ (the wooden board which serves as ‘bell’ amongst the Eastern Christians) only gently.…and not to raise our voices in them in chanting;. . . .not to build a church, convent, or hermitage, or cell, nor repair those that are dilapidated; nor assemble in any that is in a Muslim quarter, nor in their presence; not to display idolatry, nor invite to it, nor show a cross on our churches, nor in any of the roads or markets of the Muslims; not to learn the Quran nor teach it to our children, nor to prevent any of our relatives from turning Muslims if he wishes it;. . . .Not to resemble the Muslims in dress, appearance, saddles . . .; to honor and respect them, to stand up for them when we meet together;… not to make our houses higher (than the Muslim houses); not to tip weapons or swords, nor wear them in a town or on a journey in Muslim lands;. . .not to strike a Muslim; not to keep slaves who have been the property of Muslims. We impose these terms on ourselves and on our co-religionists; he who rejects them, has no protections.” (A.S. Tritto, The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects, London, 1930).
Favorable Verses to Christians and Jews in the Quran
Many Muslim commentators tell half-baked explanations, often appeasing the Western audience, claim that Islam is a ‘peaceful religion’ or ‘tolerant religion’. These terms are used to show that Islam and Christianity can ‘co-exist’ in harmony. Muslim writers quote the Quran to present the religion as ‘peaceful’. They present verses from the Quran showing the peaceful, respectful and tolerant nature of the Quran; one verse reads: “You have your religion and I have mine” Quran 109:6, and “There is no compulsion in religion” (Quran 2:256).
Indeed, when you read the Quran, you come across verses that are tolerant to non-Muslims. One verse says: “If thy Lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Will thou then force them till they are believers?” (Quran 10:99). Another verse reads: “May thou will kill thyself with grief, sorrowing after, if they believe not in this argument (non-believers)” (Quran 18:6).
Some Muslim commentators defend the notion that Islam can ‘co-exist’ with other religions; they refer to a statement made by Ibn Ishaq, the biographer of Muhammad, who in the 8th century, stated that “The Negus of Abyssinia had given refuge to Muslim migrants to Ethiopia before they migrated to Medina.” The biographer stated that “a Christian delegation from Najran (Yemen) met the Prophet inside the mosque at Medina and the Prophet treated them with respect and in friendly way. All these events, Muslim spokesmen say, show signs of tolerance in Islam.
Another verse says: “Those who believe (in the Quran) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Sabian (another sect lived in Arabia before Islam), any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord: on then shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (Quran 2:62).
One verse refers to Christian priests and monks as humble and engage in worshipping God: “…Wilt thou find those who say, we are Christians; because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant” (Quran 5:8).
Muslim commentators state that the Quran treats all human beings on equal plain, whatever their creed or color or nation or tribe. They refer to the following verse: “And surely we have honored the children of Adam, and we carry them in the land and the sea, and we provide them with good tiding, and we have made to excel highly most of those whom we have created.” (Quran 17:70).
One verse exhorts the believers (Muslims) to uphold justice and treat non-Muslims generously: “Exempted are those who join people with whom you have signed a peace treaty, and those who come to you wishing not to fight you, nor fight their relatives. Had Allah willed, he could have permitted them to fight you. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then Allah gives you no excuse to fight them” (Quran 4:90).
Another verse reads: “For every one of you we appointed a law and a way. And if Allah had pleased he would have made you a single people, but that he might try you in what He gave you. So vie one with another in virtuous deeds” (Quran 2:148).
Muslim commentators state that Allah did not create all human beings as one community, but rather different sects, distinctively. They state that plurality of religions and ways of life and different laws co-exist peacefully with the Muslim community.
Anti Christian Sentiments in the Quran
But the same Quran calls Christians ‘Dhimmi’, an Aramaic word [DMM] means ‘the insulted ones’, who must pay “jizya” (a head tax for protection) and be humiliated (Quran 9: 29).