We westerners don’t have a very solid grasp of why this is. Case in point: a recently released book entitled The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades recites all manner of innuendo about Muhammad being a whoremonger and a pathological murderer. (I admit I have not read the book, rather I have only read a such statements regarding its contents from a web site that is marketing the book.) The book makes the blanket claim that Islam is pure and simple a religion of violence.
A friend of mine who is a Shi’a Muslim explained to me why there may be some reason for westerners to become confused on this concept, especially because the insurgents trying to destroy
In the early days of Islam, the pace of conversion to Islam began to increase in and around the city of
><>Following the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, and then Uthman came to power as caliphs (secular rulers). During their reigns, the three caliphs adulterated Muhammad’s teachings, spreading the belief that it was appropriate to spread Islam with the sword. This they did rather effectively, as in many cases those people being conquered found it in their best interest to choose Islam rather than being killed.
><>Ali, who was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, eventually came to power as the forth caliph, although many felt that because of blood relationship, which the three caliphs did not have with Muhammad, that Ali should have been the direct successor to Muhammad. After a short time, Mu’awiya, who was of the persuasion of the first three caliphs, gave battle to Ali, and ultimately the Umayyad dynasty, the precursor to Sunni Islam, split from Shi’at Ali or the party of Ali, which became Shi’a Islam.
><>While the Ummayad Sunnis felt it was their destiny to convert the world to Islam by force, Ali and his subsequent followers (called imams) eschewed violence in the name of religion, as this was not according to the teachings of Muhammad. That version of Shi’a Islam has an unbroken line of succession to this day and is based mainly in the holy Iraqi cities of
><>The Ayatollah Sistani, the leader of the Iraqi Shi’a, has been an influential figure since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, frequently reminding the majority Shi’a that only in self-defense is violence justified. (In another article I will explain where most of the perpeatrators of apparent Shi’a revenge killings of Sunni are coming from, and it isn’t
Another concept that I don’t yet completely understand is the difference between usually peaceful Shi’a Islam and the aberration that is Iranian Shi’a. This I will research and try to explain at a later date. Needless to say, Ayatollah Sistani was very dismayed by the vitriolic rhetoric of the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran when he was still alive, and he still vehemently disagrees with the calls for violence currently coming from the new Iranian leader, Ahmadi-nejad, such as the incitement to wipe the country of
This is not true, even when we confine our examination of Islam to the Muslim Arabs and Persians of the