Light Shineth in Darkness (excerpts) - Udo Schaefer - 2 Para

Muhammad had allowed religious war when his community was being threatened by extermination: "And fight for the cause of God against those who fight against you: but commit not the injustice of attacking them first: God loveth not such injustice: And kill them wherever ye shall find them, and eject them from whatever place they have ejected you; for civil discord is worse than carnage... But if they desist, then verily God is Gracious, Merciful. Fight therefore against them until there be no more civil discord, and the only worship be that of God: but if they desist, then let there be no hostility." (152:2)

It is incomprehensible that it should be precisely Christianity-- which since Augustine has known the concept of the "just war" and which also developed the concept of "holy war" in which even attack was allowed, which led the crusades, and still blessed guns in the twentieth century and implored God to help its wars-- which should be so persistently critical of Muhammad's attitude in this matter. 'Abdul-Baha has opposed this biased polemic with the following consideration: "If Christ himself had been placed in such circumstances among such tyrannical and barbarous tribes, and if for thirteen years He with His disciples had endured all these trials with patience, culminating in flight from His native land-- if in spite of this these lawless tribes continued to pursue Him, to slaughter the men, to pillage their property, and to capture their women and children, how would Christ have acted towards them? If this oppression had fallen only upon Himself He would have forgiven them, and such an act of forgiveness would have been most praiseworthy; but if He had seen that these cruel and bloodthirsty murderers wished to kill, to pillage and to injure all these oppressed ones, and to take captive the women and children, it is certain that He would have protected them and would have resisted the tyrants. What objection then, can be taken to Muhammad's action? Is it this, that He did not with His followers, and their women and children, submit to these savage tribes? To free these tribes from their bloodthirstiness was the greatest kindness, and to coerce and restrain them was a true mercy." This opinion is also shared by Fueck: "The fact that Muhammad tolerated war has already given rise to sharp criticism. But one should not forget that he lived in a world where, to a great extent, the law of the jungle ruled and where robbery was considered an honest trade. At this time in Arabia there was no state which guaranteed through its institutions a secure existence to its citizens and which would have protected them against injustice within the country by its laws and against the outside world by its army. Under such circumstances Muhammad could not renounce the right of self-defense if he did not want to abandon to certain destruction the fruit of his efforts." (152:3)

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Light Shineth in Darkness (excerpts) - Udo Schaefer